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LESSON 2:

SUBJECT MATTER
AND STYLE IN
CONTEMPORARY
ART
C

Subject matter in contemporary art is not confined


to representation of human figures and
landscapes. The favorite subjects in contemporary
art are children, women, or the environment, such
as Juan Alcazarens Flora and Fauna. It can also
be a combination of any of these. In some
artworks, the subject matter is the technique itself.
In others, such as those in conceptual art, the
viewer has to engage in thinking and exploring the
meaning of the artwork. Some artworks are
intended to make a statement about an issue so
the viewer is guided by a written explanation.

In Plet Bolipatas Cat


Dolls, the subject matter
combines human figure
and cat head. The artist
constructed a human
skeleton made of wires and
covered it with textile. The
cat head is made of resin.
Several of these are found
in front of her house to
serve as guards.

Sam Penasos
Metalscape is an
abstraction using metal.
This is an example of
contemporary art style.

There were art movements and styles that


dominated contemporary art style. There
were art movements and styles that
dominated contemporary art through the
decades since 1950s. These are abstract
expressionism, kinetic art, Op art,
performance art environmental art,
feminist art, post-minimalism, video art,
graffiti art, postmodern art, and digital art.

Abstract Expressionism is a
painting style in which the artist
applies paint in a manner that
expresses emotions and feelings
in a spontaneous way. The figures
may be heavy in lines and color
without solid mass.

Kinetic Art is a sculpture


that moves with the wind
or is powered by a
machine or electricity.

Op art uses lines or images repeatedly to


create an optical illusion.

Performance art
combines a variety of
media and the human
body to execute an
artistic theatrical
expression before a
live audience.

Environment are involves the artistic


creation or manipulation of space such as
landscapes or architectural design that
may enclose its audience. Earthworks, or
art using stones, leaves, grass, or other
natural elements are included in this
category.

Feminist art emerged from concerns of female artists


expressed through art. They tackle issues of identity,
sexuality, gender roles, and the ways in which the
female is treated in society, among others.

Minimalism had a stripped-down, pre-fabricated


look, free of details and often with flat surface but
expresses a specific content or statement. An
example is electric wire emerging from the wall that
coils to form a particular shape.

Video art consists of


images that are recorded
through a video and
viewed through
television, computer, or
projection screen.

Graffiti art is a drawing, inscription or sketch done


hastily on a wall or other surface made to be seen
by the public.

Postmodern art carries


modern styles to extreme
practices, often expressing
an idea through a mix of
materials such as found
objects welded together.

Body art is an art form that uses the body as the


medium or main material. It can be painted or clothed
and used to perform artistic act in public. Tattooing and
piercing are example of body art.

Digital art is done with the


aid of computer to create an
image or design composed of
bits and bytes. The image can
be printed on paper, tarpaulin,
or other mediums.

Some art styles progress through the


decades and have influenced artists
throughout the globe while some are
short-lived and are confined to a group of
locality. As such, some styles cannot be
confined to one particular decade. Below
is a list of some of the art movements
and styles grouped by the decades they
are known to have flourished.