Further Biographical Context for Ma Zhensheng
Ma Zhensheng was born in 1939 and grew up during the 1950s and was inspired by the artistic atmosphere of the time. It can be said that the 1950s were dominated by Abstract Expressionism, a form of painting that prioritised expressive brushstrokes and explored ideas about organic nature, spirituality and the sublime. Much of the focus was on the formal properties of painting, and ideas of action painting were conflated with the political freedom of the United States society as opposed to the strictures nature of the Soviet bloc. Influential artists of the Abstract Expressionist Generation included Jackson Pollock (who innovated his famed drip, splatter and pour painting techniques), Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Frank Kline, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still and Adolph Gottlieb. It was a male dominated environment, but necessary revisionism of this period has highlighted the contributions of female artists such as Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Louise Bourgeois, amongst others.