Keeping on with the idea of looking at Pollock’s later works as individual pieces, not as members of a series, Convergence is one of the late large abstractions. Standing in front of it at the Albright-Knox the first thing that struck me, after getting lost in the form, is that nothing actually converges in this piece, and in this respect it might anticipate Judd’s reading of Pollock. You could say it merely hangs together. The top layer of coloured splashes sits on a lower layer of black webs. The two levels are not unified. The centre, where one might expect things to converge, is kind of empty, and all the coloured action is peripheral, even centrifugal. And then there’s the white.

Jackson Pollock, Convergence 1952

The late works sometimes give the impression of being overworked. This could be because he was getting into difficulties, and for Pollock the only available way out was to add more. This one looks like a black figurative pieces that’s been painted over and painted out. Be that as it may, I think the late work is a painful and difficult progress toward new possibilities. Overworked or not, I can get lost in tracing the shapes, linking the lines, feeling the depths, joining parts that don’t really join and letting them fall apart again. It’s as hypnotic and engrossing for me as it must have been for Pollock when he made it. I refuse to see it as an overall composition, or non-composition—too busy enjoying the experience to leave and go up to that conceptual level.

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