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Archive for June 29th, 2020

Jackson Pollock -Convergence 1952

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Painting is a state of being…Painting is self discovery.  Every good painter paints what he is.

–Jackson Pollock

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In an article in The Guardian yesterday, there was a review of a current exhibit [July, 2015] at the Tate Liverpool of Jackson Pollock paintings.  Writer Jonathan Jones describes Pollock’s work around 1950, in the period when he was briefly liberated from his chronic alcoholism,  as being the pinnacle of his career. As he put it : Pollock was painting at this moment like his contemporary Charlie Parker played sax, in curling arabesques of liberating improvisation that magically end up making beautiful sense.

GC Myers-Under TextureThat sentence really lit me up, as did the words of Pollock at the top of the page.

In Pollock’s work I see that beautiful sense of which Jones writes. I see order and rhythm, a logic forming from the seemingly chaotic and incomprehensible.

The textures that make up the surfaces of my own paintings are often formed with Pollock’s paintings in mind, curling arabesques in many layers. In fact, one of the themes of my work is that same sense of finding order from chaos.

Or that the grace and beauty of the mark belies the chaos that you perceive. That what you think is chaos is really part of a rhythm that you haven’t quite caught up with yet.

To some observers, however, Pollock’s work represented the very chaos that plagued the world then and now. But true to his words, Pollock’s work was indeed a reflection of what he was– a man seeking grace and sense in a chaotic world.

Painting is, as Pollock says, self discovery and indeed every painter ultimately paints what they are. I know that in the work of painters I personally know I clearly see characteristics of their personality, sometimes of their totality. At least, to the extent that I know them.

I believe that my work also reveals me in this way. It shows everything– strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears. You might think that a painter would be clever enough to show only those positive attributes of his character, like the answers people give when asked to describe their own personality. Nobody ever openly claims to being not too intelligent or paranoid or easily fooled. There are artists that try present themselves other than as they really are but more often than not it comes off as contrivance.

Real painting, real art, is in total revelation, in showing all the complexities and hidden rhythms of our true self and hoping that others see the order and beauty within it.

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This post first ran in 2015 and has been slightly updated.

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