Crucial differences

by Paul Burmeister

For example . . . in his 2002 essay on Jon Schueler ("American Painter"), art historian Gerald Nordland recounts how John I.H. Bauer found a crucial difference in the two generations of Abstract Expressionists. The older, earlier generation aimed "to reduce complex subjective impulses to marks upon canvas"—putting priority on self and the act of painting. The younger, later generation was alert to nature and "more objective than subjective" about what was observed in nature. Schueler (1916-1992), a member of the second generation, was deeply influenced by J.M.W. Turner. The earlier generation practiced a mode that was aligned with the theories of Clement Greenberg, and to unashamedly speak of historical influence was not encouraged, One view of the later generation is that they were able to organically break away from the limitations of Greenberg's dogma and acknowledge genuine sources without being anxious about originality.