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Published byNya Trathen Modified over 8 years ago
Heading towards abstraction. Influence from American Indian and Mexican art.
Pollock's post-student work Flame represents a surprising and radical shift in artistic direction. The painting was Pollock's first attempt to free expression from subject and is a clear step toward abstraction. Jackson Pollock, Flame. (c. 1934- 1938) Oil on canvas
Pollock's influences were seen in the Mexican muralists. Their belief in the continuation between ancient and contemporary cultures spurred Pollock's passion for Native American art. Bird's sand-embedded surface is reminiscent of the practice of Indian sand painting, while symbols such as the heraldic eye and eagle are incorporated from Indian drawing tradition. Jackson Pollock, Bird. (1941) Oil and sand on canvas,
The Mexican muralists -- David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, and José Clemente Orozco -- inspired many young artists to begin experimenting with larger canvases, more expansive painting techniques, and the use of commercial pigments. Pollock travelled to see murals by Orozco in California and made many sketches after Orozco.
Sometime before 1935 Pollock bought a dozen volumes of Smithsonian reports containing illustrations of Native American artifacts. Pollock used them as sources for his work and kept them under his bed throughout his life.
Navaho Indians Executing Sand Painting, March 26, 1941, during exhibition Indian Art of the United States. In the 1930s and early 1940s Pollock attended a series of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art that presented ethnographic objects in the context of modernism. Pollock's practice of embedding sand in some of his canvases, as well as his fascination with the shaman, or artist-healer, may be connected to his interest in native arts.
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