|todd camplin weekly...
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by Todd Camplin
|Personally, I appreciated Pollock without particularly being much of a fan of his work. If I was
picking my favorite artist out that era, Rothko and his color field paintings would be my choice.
I think Pollock’s paintings pretty much ended the Abstract Expressionist. No one before him had
ever reached the automatic painting level that Pollock had achieved and anyone after him
attempting the same style and action would have the added weight of history to make those
marks which would be a little less heroic and less authentically unconscious. The logical response
to Pollock by his predecessors was to create minimalist rather than maximalist images. The
Minimalist painters attempted to see how little information could be shown to create and
aesthetic experience, while the Pop artists attempted to move away from the hand gesture
to machine polished look.
|By now, the Jackson Pollock show at the Dallas Museum of Art has been covered by the local
and international press. But because the show is up for another month, I thought I would give
my perspective on the show and tell you why it was worth a go. Many of the local art scene
people kept urging me to see this body of work. Personally I thought I had seen enough Pollock
works to make an informed opinion. However, on their recommendations I went and I am
happy I made the effort. These featured pieces at the DMA completely took me by surprise.
The focus on Pollock’s black and white works showed a side of him that I was unaware existed.
|I also see Pollock having a hard time getting out of the shadow of Picasso. Especially in this
black and white show, I see his figures influenced by Picasso’s cubism/surreal styles. The
depiction of the figure seems to flow through all his work, but the bodies represented in
these paintings pop out at you. However, these are simplified and more abstract than
Picasso. Much like Willem de Kooning, Pollock worked in the female human form in several
pieces. Other times, it is clear in this show that he let his unconscious play with his mark
making to make something pretty much nonrepresentational. These works captured my
attention the most. Not having the more obvious representational elements in these pieces
allowed my imagination run more wild. I thought about all kinds of things that related to
memories and objects I have seen, but probably was mile away from his intent.
|The curation of the show was an impactful element that build context and a bit of suspense in
me. The first few rooms were what I would have expected to see from just about any Pollock show.
Complex drip paintings that he was famous for producing. Then you are eased into the black and
white works. You can feel his transition going on as you walk through these galleries. Finally, you
come across a huge complex drip work in the second to the last room of the show. The beginning
and end act as frames that place a context around this period of Pollock’s time working in Black
and white. You get the sense maybe this at stripping away for other colors was pollock’s attempt
to peel away at the essence of his style.
|Once he had resolved his getting back to basics moment, he returned to the more layered
dripped works, only now with a fresh perspective. I hope you get a chance to visit this show
of Jackson Pollock’s work at the Dallas Museum of Art. You have until March 20th, so join the
museum as a member or just go buy a ticket. It will be well worth your time.