Jackson Pollock and metamorphosis at “Lavender Mist” (1950) Essay

Jackson Pollock is a vivid American representative of abstract expressionism. When you are a critical person without abstract thinking, you will see a canvas with incomprehensible lines and colors, but if you look deep inside into his drawing, you’ll see all the breadth of his worldview.

The abstract creativity of the American artist Paul Jackson Pollock, even during his lifetime, brought him not only great fame but also the violent indignation of some critics who claimed that his works didn’t have the slightest relation to the field of art.

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The future leader of abstract expressionism was born on January 28, 1912. The residence of the family frequently changed, because its head couldn’t decide on a permanent profession, and at the time of Paul’s birth, Pollocks lived in the city of Cody, Wyoming.

Being a young man he didn’t have a special talent for painting, and he understood that, but the “American” character was even more persuaded to act contrary to the “rules,” and at the age of sixteen Paul was enrolled in the Los Angeles Higher School of Applied Arts.

The study lasted about a year, during which the student behaved ugly. It was the main reason of his expelling from the institution.

Somebody thinks of him as an alcoholic without any specific talent, taking into account that he spent years at the psychiatric hospital, but for a true art connoisseur he is legendary. In the psychiatric hospital, Pollock filled many albums, in which he suffered his nightmares and visions, with energy that followed him everywhere. That “creative union” made an artist famous. While creating a masterpiece, Jackson puts canvas onto the floor and starts to paint.

One of the most famous drawing by Pollock calls “Lavender Mist”(1950). The canvas with that picture awakens the pagan “I” that lives in us, which is connected with nature and interacts with it. It opens the door to the archaic layers of our psyche, but does not frighten, but, on the contrary, evokes curiosity. We peer into the fog, but we are not yet in it. However, this door is open, and, plunging into the picture of Pollock, we can enter the foggy cave of our unconscious.

Originally, the picture was called number 1 (at this time Pollock called his work by numbers); the name “Lavender Fog” was invented by art critic Clement Greenberg due to an elegant and subtle combination of tones, creating a sense of haze. Despite the fact that among the smoky gray, black, reddish-brown, silver, white and lead-blue shades of the painting there is nothing close to lavender, the artist took the second name.

Shamanic motives in “Lavender Mist.”

“Lavender Mist” reminds us of ancient rock paintings. We imagine that we are in a cave in the center of which there is a fire, and reddish patches of light are walking along its walls covered with drawings. We plunge into the picture, and it starts to come alive. The smoke from the fire in the cave is like a fog. The fog is what changes or abolishes reality, what creates space for images and fantasies, for any projections of our unconscious. Pollock’s painting doesn’t have a realistic level; the artist refused to draw any reality, he was part of an altered state of consciousness, similar to shamanism.

It’s believed that shamans speak with the spirits of nature and spirits of animals. In the painting we see this connection a little differently: shamans (like all ancient people) projected their fears, desires, expectations for the forces of nature and then established these dialogues with personified forces of nature (for example, they asked the spirit of the mountain to help in hunting, read spells, offered sacrifices). In fact, shamanic rituals are internal dialogues with some parts of ourselves. Mist Jackson Pollock is the same. Through the canvas, he tried to conduct a dialogue with the archaic content of his unconscious. The artist’s painting was something, coming from his soul.

“Lavender Mist” is the modern museum work, and we hope that now the composition of it is easier for you to understand. According to Jackson’s Pollock opinion, one the most important thing for the drawing is the movement. It’s like a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental state, including abstract painting.

Reference:

  • “An Analysis: No. 1 (Lavender Mist) – Jackson Pollock.” Metamorphosis: A Landscape, 21 Aug. 2009, .
  • “Abstract Expressionism Movement, Artists and Major Works.” The Art Story, .
  • Pollock, Jackson. “Number 1 (Lavender Mist), 1950 – Jackson Pollock.” Www.wikiart.org, 1 Jan. 1970, .

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