Capturing Emotion with Expressionist Rugs
Expressionism is an art movement that represents the movement from trying to translate the inner world of the artist to the outer world. It has been around for over 100 years and has undergone several transitions to mature into the form in which we know it today. This artistic movement is found throughout many mediums and is not only limited to painting. It has found its way into sculpture, architecture, fashion, and textile arts, including Carpet weaving. Expressionist art in the form of expressionist rugs is beautiful and complex.
Let’s take a look at the roots of Expressionism and its evolution.
History of Expressionist Rugs and Expressionism
To understand Expressionism, we must take a short step back to its ancestral roots. The story begins in the early to mid-1800’s with the Realism movement. This movement was an answer to the Romantic movement. Realist painters tried to capture the world in a very realistic manner, much like a photograph. It sought to capture the visual impression of the subject without consideration of its essence or the emotional experience of the subject.
Realist painters often depicted scenes from everyday life. Then in the 1860’s, a new painting movement began to develop in Paris. This movement would eventually spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Rather than depicting an exact representation of the world around them, this new group of artists tried to capture the moment and give life to the sensory experience of the scene. This new group of artists loosened their brushstroke and introduced lighter colors to the dismal palette of the realists.
The first Expressionists began to emerge around the 1880’s. They extended the ideas of Realism and Impressionism to capture more of the inner emotional world of the artist. This movement seems to have arisen almost simultaneously in German cities. It expressed the pervasive anxiety that was being felt in the world. In an outer world that had seemingly gone mad, Expressionists tried to give voice to these emotions by trying to capture them visually.
Early Expressionists include Vincent van Gogh, James Ensor and the iconic work, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. Expressionists used the distortion of form to convey the inner anxieties and emotions. The classic Expressionist movement is considered to be from around 1905 to about 1920, but it began as a shift a few decades earlier.
Artistic movements represent gradual transitions in creative thought, rather than a single pinpoint in time. The Expressionist movement did several things to redefine the creation and criticism of art. Artists no longer sought to capture an exact representation of an object in the visual world. There was no longer any way to judge the “accuracy” of the piece because it was an expression of the inner feelings that the object evoked at the time. The early Expressionist movement of the first part of the 20th century would eventually grow and evolve. It would never die out completely, and it is still alive and well today as contemporary artists attempt to bring a voice to the feelings of so many in society.
Early Expressionism would transform during the 1940’s and 1950’s, as the artists of the world tried to express the angst and fears of World War II and its aftermath. There was a tendency to go even further inward in the expression of deeply rooted feelings and emotions. Abstract Expressionists focused less on the final product and more on the act of creation. They would “attack” their canvas in an act of pure emotion, and by doing so, bring out their feelings and transfer them to the canvas. Abstract Expressionists would eventually allow New York to shine as the epicenter of modern art, a position that Paris held for many decades prior.
Expressionist Rugs and Carpet Weaving
As a medium, carpet weaving lends itself to an impressive range in the ability to capture emotion. With painting, you can see the heaviness of the brushstroke, the thickness of the paint and the passion of the stroke. Creating a pile carpet involves placing different colored knots on a warp according to a prescribed design. For this reason, carpet weaving is thought to be less expressive than painting, but this not necessarily the case, as many artists continue to prove.
The art of carpet weaving has tremendous potential for the expression of emotions. The first type of carpet that lends itself to this type of use are those where expressionist paintings are reproduced on the area rug. These carpets are closely linked to the original Abstract Expressionist painting. Modern tapestry and carpet dye techniques allow the painting to be reproduced accurately on the rug art. You can still see the brushstrokes and fine details, just as in the original painting. This gives the painting a new dimension. It is something that you can see and touch. You can also use it to add texture to the interior design.
Some modern artists are using carpet weaving as a new form of expression to bring life to modern ideas and concepts. The work of Deborah Kass is one example. Her work uses a bold, graphic style and words to explore contemporary social movements. Christopher Farr is another artist who is taking the creation of pile carpets in a new and expressive direction.
The work of Jason Seife uses the medium of Persian carpets to express his feelings about the traditions of his people and his early childhood. Faig Ahmed also uses traditional rug weaving to express his feelings about his people and their struggles. These visionary artists demonstrate the versatility of carpets as a medium of Expressionist ideals.
Expressionist art carpets are an excellent addition to modern decor, whether you choose a vintage rug or one based on traditional painting. A carpet is something that you can feel and touch. This allows you to explore artwork using a different sensory experience that goes beyond the visual, allowing you to immerse yourself within the work.
Nazmiyal Antique Rugs has an excellent collection of Expressionist carpets that will give your interior a fresh, new look. You can use these carpets to bring out your own inner artist and make the room an expression of you. We encourage you to explore these carpets and find the perfect one for your room.
Here are some interesting abstract Expressionist rugs from the Nazmiyal Collection:
This art blog about Expressionist rugs and art was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rug Gallery in NYC.
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