Patterning Art, also known as Pattern Painting, Decorative Art or Mustermalerei, emerged in North America in the late 1960s and existed for about two decades. Starting in the USA, the style spread to Europe after an exhibition at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels; the movement peaked in the late 1970s.
Especially in the USA, Patterning Art is to be understood as a counter-movement to Minimal Art, which emphasises rational austerity.
The term (pattern) describes the stylistic imprint that emphasises the ornament as a basic motif. Pattern Painting refers to oriental décor, Asian and South American folk art, and the colourful, often arabesque-accentuated works of Henri Matisse and his circle, which had a particular influence on the French version of Patterning Art. Furthermore, Art Nouveau, with its decorative, ornamental approach to art, became a decisive point of contact for the European variant of the movement.
Pattern Painting is characterised by the mostly large-format implementation of wallpaper-like surface patterns and the combination of decorative ornamentation into highly colourful compositions. An expressive-gestural tendency prevails, which connects Patterning Art with the neo-expressive art of those years.
Kim MacConnel, Tina Girouard, Joyce Kozloff, Frank Faulkner, Robert Kushner, François Rouan, Kendall Shaw and Miriam Shapiro are counted among the main representatives of Pattern Painting; in Germany, Sigmar Polke is associated with Patterning Art.