Landscape with Steer uses a strong palette of shades of blue, red and yellow, touched with black to produce a dramatic and darkly alluring vision that draws the viewer into its depths.
At the time of the creation of this piece Pollock had become intrigued by the work of several other artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros.
The experimental techniques, including pouring and airbrush used by Siqueiros inspired Pollock to experiment himself; this resulted in his adding airbrushed wash to the more traditionally-rendered dramatic landscape in the piece.
Unusual when considering Pollock’s later abandonment of restrictive boundaries to form is the clearly visible outline of the steer itself, rendered in black outline beneath a dramatic skyline of blue merging with red and the burning golden yellow landscape that throws it into such dramatic relief.
The use of such strong colours practically separates the painting into quadrants.
The use of a Steer to represent traditional Western nature is contrasted by the abstract use of strong colour that moves the whole piece away from the traditionalist method of depicting such themes.
At this stage it is still content, rather than form, that identifies with the viewer on some levels. In later years content, such as the Steer, would give way to form, creation unencumbered by the boundaries of reality and depictions of realistic figures and scenes, as Pollock mined his subconscious for inspiration.
An artist who struggled with alcoholism for much of his life, Pollock was later inspired by the psychoanalytical therapy he sought to deal with it. The beginnings of his flirtation with form beyond traditional formulaic boundaries can be seen in Landscape with Steer that also demonstrates his ability to experiment in his never ending search for the correct form of expression for his needs.