This piece, entitled Throwing Numbers, is a portrait of Jackson Pollock, the American expressionist who introduced the concept of action painting. One of the things that I really like about Pollock is that he incorporated his personality and ruggedness into his paintings. He also created a whole new style of painting that didn’t exist before him.
In this painting, I started my first base layer as a series of drips and paint throws to give the painting significant texture. I used a “casting” technique to throw the paint, because I love fishing and this movement simulated casting a rod when I fish at my cottage for bass and pike. After the base dried, I painted with white because I wanted the painting to be somewhat muted to bring out Pollock’s personality and thoughts. While I was creating this piece, I did significant research on the artist himself, both reading articles and watching archived footage of him paint. One thing that I was struck by was the research done by an Australian physicist who works in the area of fractal analysis. This technique analyzes 2 and 3-dimensional works and can determine the degree in which something is ordered or random. The researcher was able to determine that Pollock’s works were actually very ordered in nature and by the end of his career, his work was given a 1.72 rating – which means it is extremely ordered; Pollock wasn’t just throwing paint in an undisciplined fashion. To highlight this concept, I placed the number 1.72 repetitively throughout the painting. In learning more about Pollock, I was also struck by the anxiety that he felt in creating his work and being labeled by Life magazine as, “America’s greatest living painter.” To convey the concept of his mental state, I used blacks and blue hues and also gave him a more subdued expression. Lastly, to complete the painting, I dropped one last area of blue paint on the canvas, because Blue Poles is my favorite work by Pollock.
Throwing Numbers, a portrait of Jackson Pollock, will be auctioned off at a live event to raise funds for VIBE Arts, May 10th in Toronto, 7pm.