Posts Tagged ‘Henry Adams’

Thomas Hart Benton Google ScreenshotOne of the books in my to-read pile that is more of a tower now is one called Tom and Jack from writer Henry Adams.  It details the long relationship between Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock, two painters seemingly worlds apart– Pollock known for his vibrant abstracted drip paintings and Benton for his distinct but more objective view of the American landscape.

But Benton was a mentor, teacher and surrogate father for Pollock and many of his lessons found form in Pollock’s work, particularly the ability to create a rhythm in each painting.  Both were masters of the graceful organic rhythms that run through their works.

One of the things I often do when looking at the work of other artists is to do a Google image search for that artist.  Seeing the work grouped together, as you can see in the  images at the top and bottom of the page, allows me to quickly take in the overall tone and feel, to get an idea of the general fingerprint of that artist.  At the top is a screenshot of Benton’s landscapes and the thing that  immediately jumps out at me is the beautiful organic roll  of the landscape that creates a rhythm that instantly draws me in.

Thomas Hart Benton _trail-ridersOne of the paintings from the Benton page is shown here on the left, The Trail Riders, and is a great example of this rhythm.  It creates a sense of movement and gives the forms of the landscape an almost human quality in its curves and rolls which makes it seem familiar.  Part of us, who we are.  For me, that rhythm in Benton’s work was a revelation.  The landscape became something more that a static backdrop.  It was alive and breathing and moving, very often the central character in the work.

And I knew that was what I wanted in my own work, just as I believe Pollock  observed it and wanted for his own work.  And he found a way to take that rhythm and create his own living  landscape through his distinct  visual vocabulary.  Much different than Benton but built on the same underlying energies.

Seeing both their works is really motivating for me, making me chomp at the bit  this morning.  Each spurs me in many directions, but always fast and forward moving.

And that is always a good thing…

Jackson Pollock Google Screenshot

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