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By Edward Lucie-Smith

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20 abstract derives, ultimately, from the spatial experiments of the cubists. In Rothko's paintings the colour relationships, as they interact within the rectangle and within this space, set up a gentle rhythmic pulsation. The painting becomes both a focus for the spectator's meditations and a screen before a mystery. The weakness of Rothko's work (just as the subtlety of colour is its strength) is to be found in the rigidity and monotony of the compositional formula. The bold central image has become one of the trademarks of the new American painting - one of the things that differentiates an ///.

Has to recognize the The is limitations I s find in the seem to me to Guston typifies the boneless aspect of abstract expressionism. Too often, his pictures are no more than a riot ol lush paint and sweet colour something to prompt another Tallulah Bankhead to remark. There's less in this than meets the eye. Kline, like Rothko. is an artist who runs to rather sterile extremes, and he : T ///s 21 22 mark tobey Edge Art, New York) of August 1953 (Collection The Museum of Modern :3 willem de Kooning Woman and bicycle 1952-3 : speeded on his way to them by abstract expressionist doctrine.

One of the more radical consequences of Pollock's method of working, so far as the spectator was concerned, was the fact that it completely changed the treatment of space. Pollock does not that ignore spatial problems; his paintings are not flat. Instead, -he creates a space which is ambiguous. are aware of the surface of the picture, but also of the fact that most of the calligraphy We 34 seems to hover a little way behind this surface, in space which has been deliberately compressed and robbed of perspective.

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