No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock
1948, Oil on Canvas, 243.8 cm × 121.9 cm
Okay so I have known that I wanted to feature Jackson Pollock for the past week, and I even started this post like a week ago, I just never got around to finishing it and I just realized why. It's really freaking hard to try and explain Pollock with words. But I will try....
So I can't tell you how many times I hear about people hating Jackson Pollock. In fact, a lot of people associate the whole "modern art" category with paintings like Pollock's; weird, lacking skill, and NOT art. I think the reason I defend Jackson Pollock so much is because I know about his evolution as an artist. I guess the best way to explain it is to breifly explain art around his time. Right after World War II ended, art changed. It changed big time. Art quickly became the visual expression in reaction to the chaos and destruction that occured during the war, the movement was called Abstract Expression. Just like WWII ended with a BOOM (literally), art drastically changed almost instantaneously.
Pollock's best known works are his drip paintings. Now here's where it gets a little tricky. Part of the whole Abstract Expressionism movement had to do with expression. Pollock did something huge. Instead of putting the canvas upright, or on a easel, he layed canvas on the floor and methodically worked dripping paint onto the canvas while moving around his creation. This is where people might say, "Okay how is that art?!" Well my friends, it's art and it's art at its finest.
In regards to his painting technique, Pollock once said, "On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting." You see, Pollock didn't care about traditional artistic means. He didn't care about making a realistic image. He cared about creating a piece filled with expression. THAT is art. Also, it wasn't as if he shut his eyes and just started splattering paint everywhere, each stroke, each drip, and each splatter was meticulousy thought out and it definitely wasn't random as so many think.
In the world of Jackson Pollock, it wasn't about what he painted, it was about how he painted and in his case it made all the difference. So next time you see a Jackson Pollock drip painting, try to feel his mood, try to feel his emotion, and try to understand his form of visual expression.
Pollock was simply a man with little to say, but a lot to express.