“The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.”
It can be said that in Jackson Pollock’s hands, paint took on the delicacy, power, and variety of a human form. He laid it on with care and let it run off as he circled a canvas, as if it flowed from the motion of his body. His drip paintings can be seen as a lot more than drips, but they remain the most defiantly abstract art ever made.
Jackson Pollock was born in 1912 and died in 1956 from a severely fatal car crash. Even though his life was short lived he made a tremendous impact on the art community and became known as the commanding figure of the abstract expressionist movement. He began studying painting in 1929 at the Art Students League in New York under regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. During the 1930’s he worked in the manner of the regionalist’s, being influenced also by the Mexican muralist painters (Orozco, Rivera and Siqueiros) as well as certain aspects of surrealism. From 1938-1942 he worked for the Federal Art Project and by the mid 1940’s he was painting in completely abstract manner. In 1947 the “drip and splash” style for which he is known best emerged with some abruptness. During the 1950’s Pollock continued to produce figurative or quasi-figurative black and white works and delicately modulated paintings in rich impasto as well as the paintings in the new “all-over” style.
The “all over” style of painting, in which Pollock is associated with, avoids any points of emphasis or identifiable parts within the whole canvas and therefore abandons the traditional idea of composition in terms of relations among parts. The design of his painting had no relation to the shape or size of the canvas. In the finished work the canvas was sometimes docked or trimmed to suit the image. All these characteristics were important for the new American painting which matured in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. This manner of Action...