Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots

An exhibition focusing on the final years (1951-1953) of Jackson Pollock, “Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots,” is underway this summer at the Tate Liverpool. Pollock’s last years reveal a dramatic shift from his vigorous creative processes employing the techniques of “pouring” and “dripping” – terms that have become synonymous with his name. Until now this period of his life has not been the subject of major examination.

Pollock’s life has the drama of a movie character. He shot to fame after the prominent collector Peggy Guggenheim discovered him in the 1930s when he was painting in New York and struggling with mental instability and alcoholism. Pollock garnered attention with his “action paintings” where he poured and dripped paint on a large canvas spread out on the floor. He created numerous historic masterpieces until his peak in the 1950s. (Fig.1)

In the techniques of “pouring” and “dripping” that Pollock invented, highly fluid paints flow onto a canvas spread out on the ground. Pollock produced one masterpiece after another this way, spinning out subtle and unconstrained long lines that could not have been painted by hand.

But this period during which Pollock used these techniques to create pieces with only pure lines lasted just four years. From 1951, concrete images of humans and animals appeared on his canvas, and his colors shifted to the mainly monochrome of black and white. It was as if Pollock were denying his seemingly established techniques and abstract expression. In “Portrait and a Dream” (Fig.2, 1953), on the left side, the full body of a woman can be seen, and on the right side, the face of a woman is discernible. Pollock feared a conventionalization of his style and attempted to constantly transform his art in order to create pieces that nudged a viewer’s blind spot. But perhaps due to depression triggered by the struggle to create new works or distress from the poor reception of his 1951 show, Pollock descended into alcoholism once again, and in 1956 died at the young age of 44 in a car accident, leaving this world like a shooting star.

The exhibition Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots is until 18 October 2015 (Open every day during exhibition period).
Tate Liverpool
Albert Dock
Liverpool, Waterfront
United Kingdom
Opening times:
Mon—Sun 10:00-17:50
First Wednesday of every month 10:30-17:50
Closed on 3 April and 24–26 December 2015