Jason McCoy Gallery is proud to announce an exhibition honoring the centennial of Jackson Pollock’s birth. A selection of paintings, works on paper and objects, ranging from 1930 to the early 1950s, will provide an overview of Pollock’s versatile oeuvre.
In his 100th birth year, Jackson Pollock not only remains one of the paramount figures in the annals of art history, but his profile keeps rising as well. However, it is still a mere fraction of Pollock’s oeuvre that makes up his reputation. His poured abstract paintings of the late 1940s remain his best-known achievement. While including examples of Pollock’s “classical” abstractions of 1949-1950, this exhibition further provides the opportunity to examine a variety of the artist’s interests as reflected in his recurring themes, symbology and innovative technique.
The earliest works on display document Pollock’s passion for the American West, the landscape of his childhood and youth, as well as his interest in the Mexican Muralists José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera. A sincere appreciation for the art of the American Indians can be traced, as well as the aesthetic influence of Albert Pinkham Ryder and his teacher and mentor Thomas Hart Benton. A first major shift occurred in 1939, when Pollock began Jungian psychoanalysis. It led to a complex search for a visual vocabulary rooted in the “personal unconscious”. Pollock’s imagery during this period is sparked by his fascination with ancient myths and Native American Indian legends. During the early 1940s, Pollock further explored the Surrealist practice of Automatism and studied the works of Picasso, in particular Guernica, and Miró at the Museum of Modern Art. Until the mid-1940s, both Picasso and Miró influenced Pollock’s explorations of palette and form.
In 1945, Krasner and Pollock moved from Greenwich Village closer to nature, settling in Springs on Long Island. In his new studio, Pollock created two of his most acclaimed bodies of work: his abstractions of 1949-1950 and his black-and-white paintings of 1951-1952. He began to increasingly experiment with his materials, tilting cans, using wooden sticks, brushes and even turkey basters. Canvases were laid directly on the floor and Pollock began to “draw in space”, motioning in the air above the paintings’ surface. In 1951, he summed up his quest in an interview with William Wright: “My opinion is that new needs need new techniques. And the modern artists have found new ways and new means of making their statements. It seems to me that the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any other past culture. Each age finds its own technique.”
This exhibition aims to clarify that Pollock never set out to tell a cohesive story or to travel linearly. Instead, he fully committed to the freedom of expression; he visited, revisited, sought, discovered and embarked anew in cyclical motions.
This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, including essays by Charles Stuckey and Stephanie Buhmann.