Franz Kline, an Abstract Empressionist. My favorite AE artist. His black and white paintings are visually pleasing. I find them very relaxing like the color green. Surprising, because his compostions are dramatic, with severe contrast between the hard black strokes and blocky white negative space.
Here is an excerpt from Stella Paul's essay on Abstract Expressionism on Metmuseum.org, explaining 'gesture' in a way I couldn't convey in my own terms:
" . . . Other colleagues, including Krasner and Kline, were equally engaged in creating an art of dynamic gesture in which every inch of a picture is fully charged. For Abstract Expressionists, the authenticity or value of a work lay in its directness and immediacy of expression. A painting is meant to be a revelation of the artist's authentic identity. The gesture, the artist's "signature," is evidence of the actual process of the work's creation. It is in reference to this aspect of the work that critic Harold Rosenberg coined the term "action painting" in 1952: "At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act—rather than as a space in which to reproduce, re-design, analyze, or 'express' an object, actual or imagined. What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event." "
Paul, Stella. "Abstract Expressionism". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/abex/hd_abex.htm (October 2004)
Kline's paintings: events, not pictures. I couldn't put my finger on what I liked about AE before researching it. But when I was first introduced to action paintings from the movement I just got a feeling 'this is meaningful' and I didn't know where it came from.
Kline's giant brush strokes
The areas of smoothness, the dry hairs scratching the canvas, the muddy white from painting white over black in a purposfully translucent way. His work is not a spoon-fed transaction from eye to brain. It is something more than the image itself, it's an expression that everyone can read differently.
Franz Kline on Artchive: http://www.artchive.com/artchive/K/kline.html