Abstract Expressionism, was a movement in mid-20th-century painting that was primarily concerned with the spontaneous assertion of the individual through the act of painting. The movement contains a variety of styles and is characterized more by the concepts behind the art than by a specific look. Generally, abstract expressionist art is without recognizable images and does not adhere to the limits of conventional form. Abstract expressionism has its root in the totally nonfigurative work of Wassily Kandinsky and that of the surrealists.
There were two kinds of Abstract Expressionist painters. Action painters were concerned with paint texture and consistency and the gestures of the artist, while color field painters gave their works impact by using unified color and shape. Jackson Pollock was the quintessential action painter. His unique approach to painting involved interlacing lines of dripped and poured paint that seemed to extend in unending arabesques. Mark Rothko created pulsating rectangles of saturated color in his works; many of these works are prime examples of color-field painting.