A place to indulge my narcissism... and write stuff...

“When I am painting I have a general notion as to what I am about.”

Recently a trove of paintings was found in a warehouse on Long Island. Some believe they may be the work of Jackson Pollock. Here’s one of them. I don’t remember when I first saw a Pollock. I mean one of the swirly, drippy ones like this image that he’s famous for. Whenever it was, I was unimpressed. I felt like any child could do what he did. While that may be true, at the time, Jackson Pollock took expression with pigmented oil to a place it hadn’t been.

Ed Harris, a marvelous and underrated actor, mezmerizes in his portrayal of the artist in the 2000 film he also debuted as a director. It works. He is Pollock. His facination began in 1986 when his Dad gave him a Pollock book for his birthday. In those 14 years he continually studied the artist until he felt he could realistically perform the painting itself. The National Gallery has an online feature including footage of Pollock at work with his own narration. If you see the film, you’ll notice Harris nails it.

Ed Harris’ Pollock completely changed my view of the artist to one of awe. Pollock’s alcoholism and depression made it virtually impossible for him to get out of bed, but he did…to paint. The canvas was his counsel.

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    It is a great movie and Ed Harris is by far one of my most favorite actors. -M.

  2. Barb

    ‘Self-expression’ is in fact the driver to everything we call “art”. Art is the tangible result, versus the fuzziness of defining expression. Pollock is a more modern example of someone suffering with an illness that went unaddressed. So what happens to all that conflicting emotion that is stuffed carelessly in a drawer in someone’s brain, unable to be opened or closed because it is stuck, partially shut? The most tragic example will always be Van Gogh (ear-jokes aside). We all should be wondering how on earth we can look at his resulting work and see a feast of magnificent colors, with brush strokes literally jumping-off the canvas, as if frozen in dance, from a man deeply and severely handicapped in his misery. The part of Van Gogh’s drawer that was opened, is what we see in museums; all he ever wanted was for the drawer to be closed tightly, forever, so that he could find peace from his demons.

  3. Anonymous

    I think that misery should not be a pre-requisite for great art. Many great artists never new great misery, and many miserable people never do great art.

  4. Galeria Colectiva

    thanks for the pollock’s link…

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