Jackson Pollock was a towering figure of the abstract art movement during the mid-20th century. To many, his death meant the end of an era. Indeed, he was an instrumental painter whose loss was felt by many.
Jackson Pollock was an innovator in so many ways. For example, Kaprow (1993) contends that Pollock's paintings are innovative in terms of line, form, and space (Kaprow, p. 6). Spatially, Kaprow (1993) insists that Pollock, much like the cubists, could produce the effect of an extension of space (Kaprow, p. 7). Thus, Pollock pioneered almost single-handedly a movement that still influences today's painters.
Kaprow also argues that Pollock is a master of art without pretense (Kaprow, p. 7). Thus, in a Zen-like fashion, Pollock commanded his medium (Kaprow, p. 7). Kaprow is especially passionate about Pollock's ability to expand the definition of painter or poet to that of "artist" (Kaprow, p. 8). Thus, Pollock's painting has the ability to unify many artists who use different media in their trades, and can influence them to identify themselves as part of an organic whole, as "artists" (Kaprow, p. 8).
Indeed, Kaprow crafts a convincing piece about the power and influence of one of abstract painting's iconic figures. However, the piece was originally written sometime in the late 1950s, and Kaprow's closer in his essay has not come to fruition. Despite his influence in the world of painting, it does not appear that Pollock could achieve what Kaprow hoped for -- the power to unify artists from across their unique fields. Kaprow hopes that Pollock's influence will be felt in the 1960s. Sadly, many of the artists (painters, poets, and writers) who Kaprow envisioned as being collectively influenced by Pollock are probably not even alive today, and today's generation of painters are more concerned with contemporary painters to give Pollock much of his deserved consideration.
During this interview, Pollock alludes to much of his philosophy about painting, and talks a bit about his technique, a technique that involves the usage of painting "sticks" as opposed to paintbrushes. Pollock states that he has no preconceived ideas or images in mind when he begins a painting (Wright, p. 22). Moreover, Pollock states that he paints "from within", a philosophy that allows him to forego the use of objects in his paintings (Wright, p. 22). Good abstract painters, he states, are able to "isolate" the essence of the best classical painters by depicting their internal state without external subject matter (Wright, p. 22). Moreover, Pollock states that his technique allows him more freedom to apply paint to the canvas, thereby allowing him to move around the canvas with greater "ease" (Wright, p. 24).
Indeed, Pollock's techniques challenge the viewer's preconceived notions about what a painting should look like, or what a painter is trying to say with the canvas. This forces the viewer to drop any attempt to approach a Pollock painting with ideas (or ideals) of how painting should be done. Pollock's technique is both novel and highly-unconventional. A key figure of the abstract movement in painting, Pollock's work opens up new avenues of interpretation. His painting, in actuality, demands that viewers play a more passive role, letting the work "speak" to them. Thus, a Pollock painting almost forces the viewer to adopt a new point of reference, a point of reference that defies description or conceptualization.
Kaprow, Allan. "The Legacy of Jackson Pollock." Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life. London: University of California Press, 1993. Print.
Wright, William. From an interview with Jackson Pollock. O'Connor, Francis V. & Thaw, Eugene Victor, eds., Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné 4. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978. Print.