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action painting Act and result of applying paint spontaneously. A dynamic style, it gained momentum in 1952 when painters such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock moved away from abstract expressionism to make pictures with spontaneous gestures, such as dripping and pouring paint onto their canvases. Its purpose is to stimulate vision and to show a record of passing emotions. Other practitioners include Robert Motherwell and Alan Davie.
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