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.