Jackson Pollock

I am interested in the absract expressionists.  Particularly  the art of Jackson Pollock. Lee Krasner, his wife as well, they are an amazing tragic pair.  I am making this post to collate some posts I’ve made related to him and to have a place to add reflections and links.  Here is a link to Wikipedia about the Blue Poles – the feature image above (a detail below). Jackson Pollock in Wikipedia.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was widely noticed for his “drip technique” of pouring or splashing liquid household paint onto a horizontal surface, enabling him to view and paint his canvases from all angles. It was also called all-over painting and action painting, since he covered the entire canvas and used the force of his whole body to paint, often in a frenetic dancing style. This extreme form of abstraction divided the critics: some praised the immediacy of the creation, while others derided the random effects. In 2016, Pollock’s painting titled Number 17A was reported to have fetched US$200 million in a private purchase.



This site has the background & the paintings.

Copied one from 42


I loved the movie starring directed by Ed Harris. The higlight is seeing Hassis enact Pollock at work. The photo (below is the actual Pollock at work.
From a note in the Auckland Art Gallery

more from the Auckland Gallery:

Have you ever heard Jackson Pollock’s voice or seen him painting?

Hans Namuth and Paul Falkenberg made their film Jackson Pollock in 1951. When Namuth arrived at the artist’s studio he recalled that ‘A dripping wet canvas covered the entire floor. Blinding shafts of sunlight hit the wet canvas, making its surface hard to see. There was complete silence… Pollock looked at the painting. Then unexpectedly, he picked up can and paintbrush and started to move around the canvas. It was as if he suddenly realized the painting was not finished. His movements, slow at first, gradually became faster and more dancelike as he flung black, white and rust-colored paint onto the canvas… He completely forgot that Lee [Krasner] and I were there; he did not seem to hear the click of the camera shutter… My photography session lasted as long as he kept painting, perhaps half an hour. In all that time, Pollock did not stop. How could one keep up this level of activity? Finally, he said “This is it”.’

Here is a short excerpt from Namuth’s and Falkenberg’s fine film (dead link, but here is the whole BBC doco) where Pollock says ‘I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them. Technique is just a means at arriving at a statement.’

Progressive or reactionary?

John Berger on Pollock 

And perhaps here we have come to something like an answer to my original question. If a talented artist cannot see or think beyond the decadence of the culture to which he belongs, if the situation is as extreme as ours, his talent will only reveal negatively but unusually vividly the nature and extent of that decadence. His talent will reveal, in other words, how it itself has been wasted.

Berger, John (2014-09-07T22:58:59). Selected Essays of John Berger. Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.


Berger credits Pollock  with talent, but criticises him for not commenting on the decadence.  Meditate on this: Pollock, is not commenting on anything, because he is too busy being who he is. He is… expressing. In that sense he might be the forerunner of a me generation, but forerunner is the wrong word, it’s been a me generation for centuries.  There are other contradictions at play. This is the weird thing about abstract expressionism, which is not socialist, and even individualist, but at the same time something that emerged out of a culture that was counter to the decadence. To ‘do’ is different than to ‘illustrate’. And that is progressive. Pollock, in his very hurtfulness was also a victim as an outsider of a culture that violated his being. That is easy to overlook as that very society drops bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I can see him as making art while emprisoned. If that is true then it is true of Lee Krassner even more so.

Pollock Confidential

love this graphic novel.  Takes the perspective that the CIA funded Pollock.  Seems true.  Does not diminish my take on Pollock, just goes to show how weird the world is.  Like his art…  a weirdness in the world. 

Engaging the Muse ANZPA_Journal_17_art07

In a psychodrama article where I mention Pollock I credit him with spontaneity. Not sure if I mention it in the paper, but spontaneity includes vitality, flexibility, originality and creativity.

More Pollock


Going West 1934 – 35


Number 1A, 1948




Spontaneity operates in the present, now and here; it propels the individual towards an adequate response to a new situation or a new response to an old situation. It is… the least developed among the factors operating in our world; it is most frequently discouraged and restrained by cultural devices.

Continue reading “Spontaneity”

The Moment in History

I am a psychodramatist and hence a student of the work of J.L. Moreno.  And I hold his philosophy and methods to be revolutionary in the sense of having potential to heal humanity.  There is an area of his philosophy and outlook where he comes short of the potential, it is in the conception of mass action and the macro forces that operate in the world.  He lacks a good grasp of Marxism. And I think Marxism lacks the science of sociometry, the outlook of small groups.
Continue reading “The Moment in History”

Doubling, Spontaneity, Creativity and Encounter

Just added this to my Writing page.

Doubling, Spontaneity, Creativity and Encounter (docx) — Out of date (Saturday, 7 May, 2016)

Now working on a draft here in Google Docs

This is an article I’ve been working on since I presented something along these lines at 2014 AANZPA conference.  Its about the value of doubling what is adequate in the protagonist. Doubling is not coaching, but assisting the protagonist to say what is in them in a way that it can be heard.

It takes further the ideas I came away with from the Dan Wile workshop. He says something like this: I assist the couple to heave the conversation they would have if they were not fighting.

See additional notes from 6 October 2012 Zerka Moreno on Doubling and Tele

Mirroring & Cybernetics

… the ability to perceive difference is a crucial, perhaps a necessary prerequisite for spontaneity. I saw more clearly one of the purposes of the psychodramatic technique of mirroring, it allows information, potentially lost* to be maximised and responded to.

This is a quote from an article I wrote in 1987! My friend Don said he had something I wrote back then, he dug it out. Wonderful to see it. Thanks Don! I recognised it as something I had written, especially the typeface from my old Brother Golf Ball printer but that was about it, I recalled nothing of the content.

I quite like it though, and here is a link to the whole paper, now scanned and online.

Mirroring & Cybernetics

Creativity, spontaneity and something Blake said

I have linked to this quote before, I just noticed it again & saw it in a new light. In relationship to Moreno’s Canon of Creativity. I think the word “attention” is wonderful. Eastern traditions use attention in meditation, but what is attention? A Buddhist friend of mine said it is simply love. It is a mystery alright! I can put my attention where I will! Attention is intentional. Right now it is on the blinking cursor. A moment later on the song playing on the radio downstairs.

Attention & blessing are all forms of warm-up?

Continue reading “Creativity, spontaneity and something Blake said”