Comments on: The Case for Pollock http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Patrick Jones http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-71405 Wed, 19 Dec 2012 11:46:10 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-71405 Thank you for those responses which mirror my own excitement whenever I see a Pollock in the flesh.Maybe we should get some money together ,rent a farm and stage our own work-in,where nothing but New ground breaking Art could be allowed.Triangle in 82 was ruined ,not by a lack of seriousness ,but by the availability of heavily marketed Golden Paint technology.Painters were overwhelmed with Gel mediums and Iridescent colour ,both of which were tricky to use ,unless you were Olitski.The lack of anything approaching spirituality was nauseating as Late Formalism backed into the Post modern era,infatuated with the wrong set of toys.It is exceptionally difficult at the moment for artists to get shows of ambitious and experimental new work.It seems to be soooo easy in the national artistic psyche to do plain weird and avoid addressing the problem Pollock addressed with his lifes work.

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By: Terry Ryall http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-71294 Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:59:22 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-71294 This is an absorbing and forceful piece of writing. One (if I understand it correctly) that describes a view of the history of Western painting, beginning with Giotto, as being dominated by the demands of a sense of sculptural space and evaluates the significant achievement of Pollock in terms of him finally ridding painting of the burden of the sculptural and, in the process, with “Out of the Web” arriving at the “Great American Painting”
I will leave aside the perhaps natural adverse reaction of a sculptor to the sculptural- influence/concern being hinted at as eventually having become a sort of redundant accessory that painting in the mid 20th Century could now do without. This ‘ridding’, doesn’t, on its own (even if the basis of that assessment is correct) do justice to, or get us closer to the understanding of, why Pollock should be regarded as a significant painter. As for “Out of the Web” 1949, the inclusion of those strange Miro-like shapes that David Sweet refers to seems to me like a clumsy attempt to make it into a ‘real’ painting with a ‘proper’ sense of form and shape. Lavender Mist : Number 1 1950, in contrast, dispenses with such pretence. It is extreme, all Pollock. What I like about the best of his painting is to be found in the daring and conviction of such extremity and the visual density and unremitting energy that it presents.
Some artists have picked up on aspects of Pollock’s way of working (in relation to his ‘drip’ paintings) and taken them into areas (often completely outside the parameters of painting) that have subsequently influenced opinion about the value and perhaps integrity of the way of working that he has become best known for. This does not deter me from seeing him as a painter in the traditional sense for whom the persuasiveness of what he did with paint on canvas, in a visual sense, meant everything.
That of course begs the question of what exactly he did achieve that at its best is so exciting. As ever I think words can only get us so far, if this were not so then there would be no point in making art. What is so attractive (I ask myself, as a sculptor, somewhat quizzically) about these masses of webs, threads, splashes and drips that at their best are seemingly without any sense of form, shape or the relational? We can talk about his great sense of drawing with paint, his energy, the density and depth of his imagery, the abstractness of the visual journey that all of this stuff can take us on when we stand before his work, but ultimately I think it’s more to do with his purpose and daring which is entirely visually and physically evident.

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-71263 Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:52:56 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-71263 Dear Patrick,
I think you just made my point for me.

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By: Geoff Catlow http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-71257 Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:29:47 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-71257 David, I really enjoyed your essay, so easy to read. Winter is generally dispiriting, the studio is cold the, light is awefull, but your writing will enlighten the rest of my winter months. My experiance of Pollock was the big show at the Tate, several years ago and as I was going through major changes in my own work the impact of that show was all the more of a shock to me. I was emotionally affected by the intensity of the fact of standing in front of a kind of paintings that seemed things unto themselfs, not portraying or describing, just being, paintings, for their own sake. It was the pieces where Pollock did not physically lay a brush on the surface, that really held me, as though in that long stream of painting dna dripping from the end of the stick or brush, I was being directed to the future of my own work.
Thankyou once again.

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By: Patrick Jones http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-71255 Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:10:52 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-71255 I wish Robin would point us in the direction of any artist who is making the sort of Completely New Modern Painting he desires to see.I think the idea of a figurative abstraction mentioned elsewhere on Ab Crit is daft ,just as dissing modernism is futile. How many young painters are painting really ambitious pictures? I remember walking into John Walkers studio in the early seventies and you could literally feel the ambition/ pictorial ambition.
.Where would you find that today?

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By: Emyr WIlliams http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-71025 Mon, 17 Dec 2012 19:58:54 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-71025 I think that what is implied here is not sculpture per se. Greenberg used the phrase “tactile associations” and I think that that is what is meant here maybe?

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-70846 Sun, 16 Dec 2012 15:44:59 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-70846 I meant Robert Hughes…

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-70727 Sat, 15 Dec 2012 19:07:32 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-70727 A very good article indeed, very thoughtful.

But… you seem to equate sculpture with a certain literal lumpish-ness, and the intrusion of its three-dimensionality into painting as a rather distasteful sullying of its pictorial purity. This view must stem from the recent modernist tradition of equating sculpture with literal objecthood. I instinctively baulk at this; sculptural space is at least as illusionistic as the space of painting – or should be – and of a different kind altogether. I don’t think, therefore, that you can really attribute the changes that happened in painting to any invasion of a ‘sculptural’ way of thinking. They surely arose mainly as a result of painters (and their patrons) wanting their work to be more ‘real’, more open, varied, and spatially flexible; more equivalent to the world they saw around them.

I still can’t bring myself to believe in this theory about the flatness of Manet (as we have discussed elsewhere), and ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ does not possess for me the strange spatial qualities you ascribe to it. I would have thought that Manet’s inclusion of the mirror was a deliberate move to incorporate deep space. The fact that the space is in a mirror is a rather conceptual point; it’s a very perverse way to flatten out a painting! I would only admit to the barmaid looks a little squashed in her slot behind the bar; so without the mirror I would perhaps concede to a flattening.

I do, however, like the comparison of modernist painting with early icon painting, pre-Giotto. Their limpid and unquestioning decorative beauty, lack of convincing space, lack of a substantial active content (in favour of a passive subject matter), and a reliance upon symbolism (was Patrick Hughes right about Louis?), all point to such an association. Much as I like a lot of it, I’m afraid I can’t believe any longer in ‘the Great American Painting’. It only amounts to all the more reason for abstract art to move on beyond modernism’s now obvious limitations to something more ‘three-dimensional’, whatever that might imply; unless, that is, you are arguing that pre-Giotto painting is superior to Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens, Goya, Poussin, Constable…..

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By: Patrick Jones http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-70709 Sat, 15 Dec 2012 17:06:28 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-70709 A terrific piece of writing ,although I dont understand why a piece of Art has to do something so specific as free itself from sculpture to be good.Pollock painted so many minor and major masterpieces,as well as complete junk.Out of the Web is only fairly middling,but if you take No One in Moma N.Y,Full Fathom Five ,The Deep ,Autumn Rythym,Lavender Mist,She Wolf,etc.hes up there with Picasso and Matisse no doubt .Unfortuneatly he sort of stopped the show ,which makes the demise of Frank Stella all the more dispiriting as he looked like he could continue with his early pictures.He still needs following up ..A great article congratulations

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By: Filip Gudovic http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-case-for-pollock/#comment-70584 Sat, 15 Dec 2012 04:38:02 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6448#comment-70584 Great essay David,
As a big fan of cubist space and collage approach to surface, this article has given me more understanding of the space that occupies Pollock’s work – a historical space, but also the space that his work creates – as you mention a post-cubist space. Few observations of Giotto and Manet are also essential for building up the argument.
Thank you

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