Abstract Expressionism is concerned with gesture and texture. Another tendency of the style may be identified in Colour-field painting: the main characteristics of which include radically simplified compositions, colours close in tonal value and intensity, and very large canvases. Jules Olitski used a spray-gun to achieve an expansive and seamless surface, a technique which preserves the richness and purity of his colours.
Helen Frankenthaler’s work combines aspects of both Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock. The ‘staining’ of Other generations 1957 is produced by pouring diluted oil paint onto an unprimed canvas laid on the floor, a technique that causes the image to merge into the surface of the work. In this painting, as elsewhere, the weave of the raw canvas is visible. In the 1960s Frankenthaler began to work in series, to adopt more structured, formal compositions and to use synthetic polymer paints.
Morris Louis’ introduction to Frankenthaler in 1953 was the catalyst for developing his own ‘staining’ technique. With Dalet zayin 1959, part of a group of paintings known as Veils, he began to experiment using unprimed canvas. Louis considered his next series, Unfurleds, to be his most ambitious works. In these paintings, which were made during the last five years of his life, he created a new style of Abstract Expressionism.