Convergence, the painting chosen for this review was a work of legendary American painter, Jackson Pollock, (1912-1956) pioneer and central figure of the Abstract Expressionism movement. Convergence, oil on canvas, completed in 1952, is nearly 8 feet tall by 13 feet wide and hangs at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, a gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., in 1956. (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2005).
Convergence occupies two-dimensional working space, depicted in a horizontal format and contains no recognizable objects or shapes; therefore is a nonobjective composition. The work embraces the style of ‘Action Painting,' an approach Pollock became synonymous with. Pollock was deeply influenced by the Surrealist notion of automatism, the direct and unmediated expression of the self. (Sayre, 2004). Rather than include recognizable objects in his work, he used the elements of color, line, shape, texture, brushstroke and light to express emotion. Pollock became best known for his ‘drip' paintings, where the canvas was on the floor and paint poured, dripped and flung onto the canvas, very thick in some places. He used his whole body, often walking on the canvas.
[...] Because Convergence exemplifies nonobjective qualities on a grand scale, it can theoretically be displayed in a vertical format or turned upside down as well. Doing so provides different illusions of positive and negative space. (Wikipedia). The choice and use of color leads to many thoughts. Black is a predominate color and appears to be used first with the other colors layered on top. There isn't much evidence of colors mixing or blending together, suggesting Pollock ‘poured' one color and waited for it to nearly dry before going on to the next color. [...]
[...] leading to the supposition, he was probably drinking during the creation of Convergence as well. References to his use of certain colors, black, yellow and orange are mentioned, with Pollock stating, can't start a painting in red.” (National Gallery of Art). Pollock led a tumultuous life starting with being expelled in high school for fighting and other disruptive behavior. It seemingly influenced his art. He didn't appear to have a style of his own as early work is characteristic of US romantic realism of the 1930s and shows the influence of small-scale, thickly painted, energetic, Expressionist seascapes and landscapes by Ryder. [...]
[...] Otherwise, there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well. Convergence and other Action Paintings by Pollock convey a sense of confusion. There is no focal point. Colors are poured, dripped and flung on top of each other leading to a nonobjective composition. There are no recognizable shapes, as it is comparable with the concept of spilling a liquid. It pours a shape, but that shape cannot be reproduced by spilling that liquid again. (Brainard, 2003). [...]
[...] The more peaceful, natural setting gave him a new vitality and freedom to work, enabling him to create some of his most famous, renowned works, including Convergence in 1952. Yet one thing is evident; it is noticeably darker in color and has a more chaotic, turbulent look compared to a work such as Lavender Mist, done in 1950. (Oxford University Press, 2006). Furthermore, angry, unpredictable, irregular lines dominate the work. One can almost envision Pollock's frantic movements while creating the piece flinging paint around in a frenzy! [...]
[...] syrupy flow of paint, how it absorbed into the canvas and the force of gravity and the result is a mix of the “uncontrollable and the controllable.” (Sayre, 2004). The critic stated, “flinging, dripping, pouring, spattering, he would energetically move around the canvas, almost as if in a dance and would not stop until he saw what he wanted to see. (Wikipedia, 2006). The only colors used are black, orange, yellow, white and a bit of blue. It appears that black may have been used first, as a sort of background color, with the other colors meticulously dripped over in layers, giving it contrasting values, such as the yellow and orange on top of the black. [...]
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