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Artist Spotlight

Celebrating History with Art: Jackson Pollock

In honor of the 4th of July, we are reaching back into history for an interesting look into the life of American-born artist Jackson Pollock.

jackson pollock

Image via Google Images

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)

Leaving Art to Chance

"On the floor I am more at ease, I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around in it, work from the four sides and be literally ‘in' the painting."
—Jackson Pollock, 1947

As unpredictable as the ocean's waves, the art of Jackson Pollock ebbs and flows to the rhythm of its own creation. Although the American-born artist found inspiration in Surrealism, Mexican muralist painters, and Native American art, among other things, his distinctly progressive philosophies challenged the 20th-century American art establishment. While Pollock experimented with various techniques, he is best known for his revolutionary "drip" paintings. Instead of using brushes to apply paint to a canvas mounted on an easel, Pollock used the force of his body to drip, fling, splatter, and pour paint onto a large canvas affixed to either the floor or a wall—a process later called Action Painting. Pollock also used a number of implements, including sticks, palette knives, rags, and his hands, to further cultivate his art. And sometimes he would alter the paint's texture by adding sand, glass, or anything else that he felt suited his purpose. In these works, Pollock was less concerned with the aesthetics of a finished painting than he was with the process of creation. Yet inasmuch as Pollock might have left the final outcome to chance, he was not inattentive to his methods. Rather, he let his intuition guide him. Thus, each piece reflects a cathartic emotional energy that wholly distinguishes his art from that of his contemporaries. In 1945, Pollock married fellow artist Lee Krasner. Shortly thereafter, they purchased a farmhouse on Long Island where they lived and painted. Sadly, Pollock died in a car accident at the age of 44; however, his art remains firmly fixed in the minds of today's emerging and established artists.
—Profiles in Art section, written by Rebecca J. Razo

Notable works: The Key, 1946; Number One, 1950; Greyed Rainbow, 1953.

Text excerpted from The Daily Book of Art: 365 Readings that Teach, Inspire & Entertain

jackson pollock painting

Image via the Museum of Contemporary Art

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