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Jackson Pollock

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by

Daniela Petri

on 14 February 2014

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Transcript of Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock
abstract expressionism
Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming, and spent most of his youth in California. In 1929—at only seventeen years old—he left Los Angeles for New York, where he studied with painter Thomas Hart Benton.
Pollock’s early work shared Benton’s rhythmic arabesques and undulating contours.The young painter, however, was more attuned to
the intense, interior-driven works of Albert Pinkham
Ryder than to the folksy narratives of his own
teacher.


In 1936 Pollock worked in the New York shop of
muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, and about 1938 he
turned from Benton’s style to what he saw as the
more powerful and epic work of Siqueiros, Diego
Rivera, and other Mexican mural painters. The
large scale of their paintings and the
“controlled accidents” that were a part of the
experimental techniques used in Siqueiros’ shop
also had an impact

Increasingly, Pollock was interested
in painting mythic images from a private
inner world, and he entered Jungian analysis in
1939. Influenced by surrealism, his work from the
early 1940s frequently made use of cryptic, calligraphic
scribbles that resembled the automatic
writing that surrealists used to
access the unconscious.

At this time, too, Pollock
was reading the ideas of artist Wassily Kandinsky,
who saw art not just as an expression of inner
states but as evoking “basic rhythms” of the universe.
In the mid-1940s Pollock’s works lost their
totemic images, becoming looser, freer. The scribbles expanded. Placing his canvases flat on the floor and painting with a drip technique, he arrived at the allover style of his most famous works


By the mid-1950s abstract expressionism had
become the style of modern art. Pollock himself
was a larger-than-life figure in American culture—
he was featured in Life magazine, and Vogue used
his works as backdrops for fashion shoots. The last
years of his life, however, were troubled by heavy
drinking and depression. He died in 1956 in an
automobile accident.

Glossary

Abstract expressionism
describes a number of individual styles used by painters (see Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Willem de Kooning, in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in the United States. Employing mostly nonrepresentational imagery, they aimed to convey their emotions and to recreate them for the viewer directly through color and form. Some artists, particularly Rothko and Newman, also invoked a range of other meanings that embraced myth and religious themes. Also called the New York School.

Action painting
describes the work of abstract expressionists who used techniques such as drip painting and gestural brushstrokes that reflect the physical activity of painting itself. In action painting the work and the process of painting merge. Critic Harold Rosenberg coined the term.

Automatic imagery
and
automatic writing
were techniques used by the surrealists to access the unconscious by suspending the conscious mind’s control over their actions.

Gesture painting
is another term for action painting.

New York School
is another term for abstract expressionist painters.
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