The interlacing method offers a beautiful dance of forms, as complex and layered as one could want, unified through the unbroken flow of line. Clearly, this is an important source for Pollock. But also important are all the pictorial possibilities, which were there from the start but then dropped in abstraction. In “The Milliner’s Workshop” Picasso has faces and figures peeking out of the net—or maybe they were there to begin with and the interlacing was applied. That would be the weaker version. All the trapped images, lights, shadows, reflections should be dancing within the web and produced by it; they should come from somewhere else, not from our realist memories.
Abstraction has tended toward geometrical construction and has generally not followed this curving, biomorphic, bodily direction. Brice Marden, Stella, Lynda Benglis—there are a few; certainly there are more names to list, just can’t think of them now. And it may be necessary to draw a few distinctions. Not all painterliness counts.