“I like to use a dripping fluid paint… The method of painting is a natural growth out of a need. I want to express my feelings rather than to illustrate them. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.”
J. Pollock 1951
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is one of the most influential and provocative American artists of the 20th century. Between 1947 and 1950, Pollock perfected his revolutionary drip technique: he poured, dripped and flicked paint from the end of a brush or stick over a piece of canvas stretched out on his studio floor. For the work Yellow Islands (below) Pollock poured black paint onto the canvas over which he added areas of yellow and crimson with a brush. He then lifted the canvas upright while the paint was still wet, allowing it to sag and run.
These iconic works are currently shown in the exhibition Jackson Pollock – Blind Spots at the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition goes on to explore the transformation of Pollock’s paintings in the following years to his ‘black paintings’ as they are often referred to. But also his explorations in other media such as drawing, printmaking and sculpture are generously shown. These ‘blind spots’ in Pollocks practice show an artist searching for expression of his ongoing inward struggle.
Black and White Polyptych (above), with its mini-compositions like a strip of film stills, is the earliest painting in which Pollock condensed scale, restricted his palette to monochrome, and worked in series. He continues to explores divisions in Number 7 and Portrait and a Dream (below).
Portrait and a Dream is considered one of Pollock’s last major artistic statements. During the final years of his life, as his battle with alcoholism worsened, Pollock painted only a handful of works. In this painting the face on the right has been interpreted as a self-portrait. The left half contains a black graphic of frenetic energy, which may represent the dream of the painting’s title.
Blind Spots still on view in the Dallas Museum of Art till March 20, 2016.
Pictures shown are taken by me in the exhibition.