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Friday, September 25, 2009

JACKSON POLLOCK - Did he hide his name in "Mural"?

According to this article at Smithsonian.com Jackson Pollock incorporated his own name into his famous 1943 painting "Mural". The author said it was his wife who first noticed the letters "son" in the top right of the canvas. They both then went on to "hunt down" the rest of Pollock's name.

I don't know. Frankly, you can make a case either way. It's very easy to see things in abstract paintings that were not in the artist's conception of the piece. I've had it happen in my work often. The human mind wants to make something "recognizable" from what it sees as "chaos" and so people will see a tree where there really isn't one, or an eagle's head or whatever their own imagination can shove the abstract image into.

I do know that many famous artists have hidden things in their paintings for various reasons so it's not inconceivable that Pollock did this. According to one art expert quoted in the article, Pollock would use some form of figurative device as a starting point for his paintings so maybe with "Mural" he simply used his name. In abstract art this is not an unusual technique if you don't have a concept in mind when you're starting an image. I've done something like that myself - it's like a jump start for your creativity.

You be the judge. I prefer not to try to shove an abstract image into a concrete "thing". Instead I choose to enjoy the play of color, form, texture and energy the artist managed to get on the canvas. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and an abstract is just that - an abstract.

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2 comments:

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I thought I read acrylic paint in this and every painting he ever did!

Pop Art Diva said...

Elizabeth - actually it wasn't the acrylic paints of today's art world, it was a new type of house paint - synthetic resin-based paint - which he could get easier and cheaper than oils. Pollock truly was innovative and I have often admired his techniques.

Interestingly, Pollock abandoned titles for his paintings and started numbering them instead in an effort to stop people trying to find representational elements in them.

Quoting Pollock, people should “look passively -- and try to receive what the painting has to offer and not bring a subject matter or preconceived idea of what they are to be looking for", something I agree with wholeheartedly.