Controversial and criticized, Pollock’s paintings are either loved or hated. His art is considered either genius or ‘decorative ‘wallpaper’, essentially brainless’ (satirist Craig Brown).
Nevertheles, No. 5 (left) was sold for $140 million in 2006, becoming the world’s most expensive painting.
I wouldn’t want to get into a debate regarding what is art and what are the limits of it, but one thing is certain about Pollock: he is a niche, he brought a new approach to painting and his works are unique. In a period when we are sourrounded by almost everything and it seems that everything was already done, he “broke the ice”, as De Kooning said, while suggesting that Pollock brought a new approach to art with his dripping paint technique. Leaving aside discussions and critiques, I see passion in Pollock’s work. Passion and dedication.
“When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a sort of “get acquainted” period that I see what I have been about. I have no fears about making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.” Jackson Pollock
Bio & Opinions
[…] an important practitioner of Abstract Expressionism […] Pollock was already experimenting with Surrealist automatism, but after the War he settled in Long Island and began to develop the Action techniques for which he is best known, dripping and throwing paint onto large canvases which were laid on the studio floor and only cut once the work was completed. He produced his first such abstraction in 1945. The intention was to avoid a focus for the work, to be part of it during creation (actually walking over it), to treat it as an object and to work semi automatically (‘painting has a life of its own’). His attitude was later influential to Performance artists and happenings.
Despite his abstraction, Pollock used evocative, descriptive titles for many of these works (e.g. Cathedral, 1947, Dallas). The mesh of drips and dashes, often textured by the addition of sand and other materials, created a floating spatial rhythm. In 1951, suffering from alcoholic depression, he reduced his colours and began to work with black enamels of unprimed canvas. Dreamlike figures began to creep back into his work (e.g. Portrait and Dream, 1953, private collection).