I am a Jackson Pollock painting these days. Life and death have been splashing all over me and the result is an indecipherable hodgepodge of an inner landscape.
To be honest, I love Pollock’s work and a lot of other artists who painted in the form of Abstract Expressionism. This art reminds us that the world and life is not always represented by definable forms that can be described in propositional language. Life is mysterious. Life appears random. Patterns and purpose are not always discernible. God is silent; we fear God is absent. We welcome the occasional surprise. The Abstract Expressionist artist painted by means of spontaneous motion, randomly dripping, splashing, and smearing art onto a canvas. It was about the journey as much as it was about any destination, about epiphanic manifestations not calculated designs.
I find a transcendent beauty in much of Jackson Pollock’s color work, but there was a period where the artist abandoned the drip style and color and tried a new approach. In 1950 he began to create his series of “Black Pourings.” Don Nash describes the method:
Pollock began his black paintings by pouring black Duco paint, which he thinned with turpentine, directly onto a blank canvas. The canvas was soft, unlike a primed canvas which is firm, so when the black paint was applied, it blurred (as when a photograph is enlarged and lines appear frayed).
According to his wife Lee Krasner Pollock, her husband’s painting tools were sticks, basting syringes, and old brushes that had become stiff.
Other artists loved these monochromatic paintings, but they were a complete commercial failure. An angry and discouraged Pollock, from that point, descended into a spiral of depression and drinking, which ended with his death in an auto accident in 1956. It was as if these bleak artworks foretold his own personal future.
I am not spiraling, but man it feels grim sometimes.
It’s one foot in front of the other. Sleep. Eat. Work. Do what needs to be done. It’s May but spring still seems a long time coming. The world’s a pretty monochromatic place these days, to my point of view. My soul’s been soaking it up like Jackson Pollock’s blank canvasses.
I just keep telling myself: Embrace the life impulse. Side with the seeds. Howl at the moon.
Tires type black
Where the blacktop cracks
Weeds spark through
Dark green enough to be blue
When the mysteries we believe in
Aren’t dreamed enough to be true
Some side with the leaves
Some side with the seeds
On the wind the wolves are howling
She cries they’re drawin’ near
Turn around, turn around my darling
Oh, the wolves are here
Everything’s so great, can’t get better, makes me wanna cry
That I’ll go out howling at the moon tonight
Yeah I’ll go out howling at the moon tonight