Saturday, August 27, 2011

What the Pollock?!

AbEx NY at the AGO
Visited: Aug. 24, 2011

Truly inspired by the abstract expressionist paintings at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Not because I am an art junkie, or even an amateur artist, but because I live and love to see the products of inspiration.

Every splash of paint, choice of colour, smear or blot, represents, or hopes to stimulate an emotion. And I believe it.

Occasionally in these works a human-like figure is placed amongst the chaos of colour splashes and shapes, and suddenly a million new meanings and personal interpretations can be drawn from such a subtle addition.

My favourite from the collection was Jackson Pollock's "Stenographic Figure" which, in my interpretation, presents an image of pure chaos of the everyday, being overwhelmed, and forced with the idea of collaboration while feeling truly alone in the struggle (as there is a second, less defined figure off to the right, almost intruding on the figure to the left). That, and of course, a commentary on language, and how it can be reduced to some shorthand symbols. What is language, but a bunch of squiggles inscribed with a meaning agreed upon by a group of people?

This photo was actually my computer wallpaper for a year of my undergrad -- it reminded me of my struggles with language and interpretation and finding meaning in an overwhelming swirl of literary masterpieces. I was taken aback when I happened to see it in the collection, right there before my eyes! I was also shocked at how small it was in real life. So many of Pollock's pieces are large wall murals, but this one was about 15 in x 22 in. [But then again, anyone who's seen the Mona Lisa knows it's not much bigger than two peices of paper (30 in × 21 in).] I know, size isn't everything, but you have to admit that smaller masterpieces don't carry as much of a sense of grandeur as the full wall murals with grand scenes and/or gigantic blends of bold colours, at least when viewing them in person.

If you are in Toronto right now, I recommend you go and see this exhibit. It's only $10 on Weds nights when the rest of the museum is free!

Exhibit runs until Sept. 4.

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