Jackson Pollock, (1912-1956) a major force in the abstract expressionist movement, helped to forge a new path in the art world that would shake its traditional foundations for decades to come.
Influenced by Picasso and the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, he developed a unique style of drip painting that transformed the canvas, in critic Harold Rosenberg’s words, into: "an arena in which to act... what was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event."
Jackson Pollock honed his drip technique with liquid paint, at his studio based in a converted barn in Long island.
Inspired by working directly with the unconscious, he developed the radical process of throwing his energy into the dynamic flinging and the pouring of oil, enamel, commercial and house paint, sometimes mixed with sand, pebbles or broken glass.
Then in one electric act of creation Jackson lunged over large canvasses, placed flat on the ground as he wielded a paint brush or stick.
Pollock later used paint pouring as one of several techniques, such as in Convergence and Number 18 1950. And it is with this rhythmic use of paint that he often expressed Jungian concepts and archetypes that can also be found in his work.
These rhythms also find their way into Summertime: Number 9A, painted in 1948, and reflects Pollock’s belief that the "Modern artist… is working and expressing an inner world... the energy, the motion and other inner forces."
Using the canvas as a field of action, Pollock builds up complex layers of line and colour that imitate his dance-like movements.
Lithe spindles of black paint writhe between splashes of smoky blue, bursts of bright yellow and touches of rust red, to suggest in many critics’ eyes that fluid figures dance amongst moving lines of paint.
And it is this groundbreaking style that led the catalogue that introduced Pollock's first exhibition, to describe his talent as volcanic.