The Art Cowboy Essay

1607 words - 6 pages

Booze, cigarettes, sex, beer, curses, affairs, abuse, paint: All of those are factors in Jackson Pollock's life, however, one stands out above all as the most important one, paint. America's greatest painter, born in Cody, Wyoming on January 28, 1912, had a deeper connection to this colorful, flowing liquid than anyone else in history. Blood did not run through his veins, but oil and pigment, tar and sand did. He became something else while he painted. He became his painting. No other painter in history had been able to do what Jackson Pollock did. Jackson pushed past any boundaries in the world of art. He created something new, and at the time no one had been able to do that. Jackson Pollock shocked the world of art by introducing a new way of painting that changed the definition of art forever.
Pollock, born in Cody, Wyoming in 1912, was a cowboy. By his mid teens, Pollock fell in love with art and decided to pursue it. He left the West and headed to New York City, the heart and soul of American art. Young Jackson Pollock, upon arriving at the Arts Students League, began taking lessons with Thomas Hart Benton (Friedman 18). Benton, a “semi-Academic, semi-Realistic artist” (18) had a very strong influence on young Pollock. When Pollock was first starting to display his art through Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of the Century gallery, a gallery set up to promote young artists involved in surrealism (52-53), Pollock was working abstractly, yet pictorially as well. Although his painting still had a quality of “Benton’s heroic and mannered regional expressionism” (Rugoff 44) he had still rocked the Art of this Century Gallery and made himself known in New York (National Gallery of Art 1). According to Rugoff, his career did not change until he and Krasner moved to Long Island. He had been painting with the intent of telling a story and his style changed to portray more abstractly feelings and emotions. It was after he moved to Long Island that he discovered what he was to be truly famous for, his “drip paintings.” According to the Smithsonian Museum of Art, Pollock began working on the ground, on a not stretched canvas, throwing and dripping raw materials such as sand, tar, and paint on the canvas (2). This was of painting without subject matter is known as “action painting” (2). Indicated by one source, he needed to view his painting from all angles and step around it (National Gallery of Art 2). This is part of the technique and action painter uses to “get into his or her painting.” He had developed the ability to become completely part of his painting (2). In the film Pollock, when Krasner discovers Pollock’s new way of painting she says, “You’ve done it Pollock. You’ve cracked it open.” This is exactly what Jackson did, he “cracked open” the art world, exposing new skin and breaking all the traditions. Rugoff indicates that Pollock, with strong influence, had changed painting from a traditional compositional technique to something else, making his...

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