Jackson Pollock

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Thursday 26 July 2012
Ron Brownson

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Have you ever heard Jackson Pollock’s voice or seen him painting? 

Hans Namuth and Paul Falkenberg made their film Jackson Pollock in 1951. When Namuth arrived at the artist’s studio he recalled that ‘A dripping wet canvas covered the entire floor. Blinding shafts of sunlight hit the wet canvas, making its surface hard to see. There was complete silence… Pollock looked at the painting. Then unexpectedly, he picked up can and paintbrush and started to move around the canvas. It was as if he suddenly realized the painting was not finished. His movements, slow at first, gradually became faster and more dancelike as he flung black, white and rust-colored paint onto the canvas… He completely forgot that Lee [Krasner] and I were there; he did not seem to hear the click of the camera shutter… My photography session lasted as long as he kept painting, perhaps half an hour. In all that time, Pollock did not stop. How could one keep up this level of activity? Finally, he said “This is it”.’

Here is a short excerpt from Namuth’s and Falkenberg’s fine film where Pollock says ‘I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them. Technique is just a means at arriving at a statement.’

Image of Jackson Pollock courtesy of Jackson Pollock by Evelyn Toynton,Yale University Press, London 2012

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