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Helen Frankenthaler is known to be among one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. She is known mainly for her printmaking and her paintings. Helen invented her own method of abstract expressionist painting known as the soak-stain technique, which became a major influence to American Art. Frank Stella, on the other hand, was also an abstract expressionist painter who gained popularity mainly for his black stripped paintings. Eventually, he expanded his artwork form paintings to sculptures. His contributions to artwork have made him one recognizable figure in the American modernism and have led to the development of different types of paintings such as minimalism and color-field painting. Both artists have some similarities and differences in their artwork.

Both artists focused on abstract expressionism as their focus in art. However, their designs of art were different. Helen invented her own method of painting known as the soak-stain technique. In this technique, she used turpentine-thinned paint and poured it on a canvas. This produces incandescent color washes, which appear to fuse with the canvas and prevent the idea of three-dimensional Illusionism from appearing. On the other hand, Stella focused on creating complicated work and expressing the three-dimensional aspect of paintings through the integration of other elements (not specifically related to painting) onto the canvas.

Their painting ideas were also very different. Helen mainly focused on luminance and naturalism of a painting on two dimensions. She further used the skills she learnt to use the soak-stain method and integrated them in other fields of art such as printmaking and woodcut. Stella’s key ideas mainly revolved around creating an illusionistic space at a constant rate out of the painting. He mainly focused on working with a specific principle plane, line, point and volume within space.

Relationship between Modern Movements and Consumer Culture

Modernism merged with consumer culture during the 1960s.  Various aspects of modern movements are usually seen to be a reaction to consumer culture and the changing times. The consumer culture in different societies is effective in influencing the flourishing of modernism in different societies. The merging of modernism and consumer culture led to development of a new culture as various artists merged music traditions with an aspect of modernism for a new culture and a new angle to art. For example, musicians such as Frank Zappa experimented with their music combining it with various modern movement aspects and had successful results with it. As a result, this merging spread all over the world and formed a platform for the current modernism.

The merging of the consumer culture and modern movements has resulted in the transformation of modernism as a concept. For one, the idea of rejecting tradition has led to the formation of another tradition represented by modern movements. Additionally, the integration of consumer culture and modern movements has also led to the loss of the precision of the distinction between modernism and consumer culture. This involved the simplification of art according to the desire of each artist.


The Modern movements emerged during the 19th century as artists rebelled against the holistic forms of art and historicism. These movements applied with hindsight to the variety of avant-garde and experimental trends in the different types of art. The movement moved into the twentieth century as individuals rejected the traditions and created their own individual techniques in art. Various artists including Frank Stella and Helen Frankenthaler represent the variations in forms of art and the creativity of artists in modern movements.

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