Defining Waveform Expressionism

Defining Waveform Expressionism

Waveform Expressionism is an intuitive, abstract art form focusing on movement, texture and light. Its goal is to recapture the mystery of discovering the internal and external world anew. Work in this style features primal, gestural renderings whose focus is emotive effect, rather than manifesting a sense of true physical space. The energy or awe-inspiring quality of the subject is more important than the realistic depiction of that subject. These works are abstract and obscure in order to encourage the viewer to connect emotionally with something within the work, rather than focus on an object, or preconceived notion of three-dimensional space. Let’s look at the three elements more closely.

Movement here does not exclusively refer to the paint across the canvas. Emotional movement, being “moved,” as well as thought streams, electricity, are the aims. We depict physical motion to speak towards spiritual and emotional movement. Motion occurs continuously, over some expanse, so sense of “time” and “space” are derived from the work. Movement is the “soul” of the piece.

Texture also relates to both time and distance. But where motion can be laterally or vertically in the piece, texture is movement towards or away from the viewer, drawing them into the work. The dramatic depth of many Waveform Expressionist pieces, with their unique grain, alludes to that unique ‘grain’ of us all. Look up texture in your thesaurus, and you may find synonyms such as “form,” “nature,” and “composition.” In texture, then, we have the “body” of the painting, as well.

Light contains not only value and contrast, but color. In many ways, it is the “mood” and “pulse” of the work. Whereas movement and texture are created more intuitively by the artist, light consists of the most subjective decisions in this style. With movement, the artist has elicited emotional connect. Texture has further drawn the viewer inside the piece. Once “ensnared,” the viewer swims in a sea of (typically) earth-tone colors. That palette is consciously chosen to evoke an emotional reaction, though it is up to the audience to determine, ultimately, what emotion that is. Color choices can take a rambling form. It is not unusual to lay down one set of colors to establish the movement, only to return in later layers with a different palette. This is a result of the intuitive, unplanned nature of Waveform Expressionism, and often fuels the dynamic texture patterns intrinsic to the work.

Though this site will mainly focus on abstract paintings, Waveform Expressionism is not limited to paintings to communicate this message. “Waveform” is the shape of a signal, which can be motion, sound, light, images, and video. Therefore, Waveform Expressionism as a style can encompass many media to achieve its aims. Dance, music/spoken word performance, and any combination of the visual arts will espouse a return to the spiritual and mysterious around us.

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