The Basics

John Berger could be a stupidly moralistic critic, but he was perceptive. He notoriously rejected Pollock as a decadent of the age of individualism, meaning he didn’t really understand Pollock at all, but then listen to this:

“Imagine a man brought up from birth in a white cell so that he has never seen anything except the growth of his own body. And then imagine that suddenly he is given some sticks and bright paints. If he were a man with an innate sense of balance and colour harmony, he would then, I think, cover the walls of his cell as Pollock has painted his canvases. He would want to express his ideas and feelings about growth, time, energy, death, but he would lack any vocabulary of seen or remembered visual images with which to do so. He would have nothing more than the gestures he could discover through the act of applying his coloured marks to his white walls.”

Growth, time, energy and death are not bad topics for abstraction, but they’re not easy for everyone to see.

     Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhthym (Number 30) 1950

Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhthym (Number 30) 1950

This entry was posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *