Abstract Artist Etel Adnan

By Lakeyshia Mcmillan

Etel Adnan, 2014. Photo by Patrick Dandy. Courtesy of White Cube.

Art is everything, It's everywhere. Especially landscape art. Etel Adnan is an

artist that paints landscape art. Her art is not like most artists. Most artists will paint a somewhat realistic landscape art piece that looks like it was real. However Etel Adnan does not paint like that, she adds a bit of abstract to her art. She was also a writer who wrote a few books. Of course that didn't stop her from painting beautiful paintings. She was born on 24 February 1925 . She has a museum, sadly it took forever for people to actually notice Etel Adnan, but once she was seen; people loved her and her art. Once she noticed she didn't stop painting. She is not as famous as some big artist, but besides that she was happy with what she had. She does not complain. With that in mind she was inspired by abstract art and other art. She was inspired by tons of artists as well. She was inspired by abstract art, postmodernism, landscape modernism and abstract expressionism.

Abstract art is “ art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of

a visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. Wassily Kandinsky. Cossacks 1910–1. Tate. Strictly speaking, the word abstract means to separate or withdraw something from something else. ” (Art term, 2020). The word abstract strictly speaking means to take apart or withhold something from something else. This term can apply to any art that is based on landscape figures or objects, where they have been simplified. It can also be applied to art that uses form. Such as gestural marks, or geometric shapes. however they have no source in an external visual reality. “Since the early 1900s, abstract art has formed a central stream of modern art .” (Art term, 2020). Abstract art comes from abstract expressionism.

Abstract expressionism is “the term applied to new forms of abstract art

developed by American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s and 1950s. It is often characterised by gestural

brush-strokes or mark-making, and the impression of spontaneity.” (art term, 2020). It was mostly based in New York City. It also later became known as the New York school. The name shows their aim to make art that is expressive and emotional as well as abstract. They were “inspired by the surrealist idea that art should come from the unconscious mind, and by the automatism of artist Joan Miró . Within abstract expressionism were two broad groupings: the so-called action painters , who attacked their canvases with expressive brush strokes; and the colour field painters who filled their canvases with large areas of a single colour.” (art term, 2020). Abstract expressionism as well as postmodernism inspired Etel Adnan.

Postmodernism “also spelled postmodernism, in Western philosophy , a late

20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism , subjectivism, or

relativism; a general suspicion of reason ; and an acute sensitivity to the role of

ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.” (Britannica, 2020). Postmodernism is a reaction that was largely formed against the assumptions made by intellectuals. Also against values around the modern period in western philosophy (somewhat around the 17th to 19th century). “Indeed, many of the doctrines characteristically associated with postmodernism can fairly be described as the straightforward denial of general philosophical viewpoints that were taken for granted during the 18th-century Enlightenment , though they were not unique to that period.” ( Encyclopædia Britannica , 2020). Etel Adnan was not just using postmodernism she also uses modernism. Modernism is “ in the fine arts, a break with the past and the concurrent search for new forms of expression.

Modernism fostered a period of experimentation in the arts from the late 19th to the mid-20th century, particularly in the years following World War I .” (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2020). With changes in an ever moving era individualized by industrialization and fast social change . As well as science advancements. “Modernists felt a growing alienation incompatible with Victorian morality , optimism, and convention. New ideas in psychology, philosophy , and political theory kindled a search for new modes of expression.” (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2020). The three isms that Etel Adnan used are very similar in some ways. Etel Adnan loved to paint. She was not well known for a long time, but finally her name was heard and now she is well known. She worked hard and loved painting. She painted a combination of landscape and abstract. The ism she uses is postmodernism, abstract expression, modernism. All her art can be found in museums. Which makes sense since she is a good artist who worked hard and received the best present for ‘christmas’, which is fame/ recognition.

Art Bibliography


(On Perception - Etel Adnan's Visual Art, December 13, 2020)


( Brian Duignan ; Postmodernism, Encyclopædia Britannica. September 04, 2020)


( Kathleen Kuiper ; Modernism, Encyclopædia Britannica. March 24, 2020)

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