Pollock’s painting Blue Poles, also known as Number 11, 1952, glorified its author as an abstract expressionist. It is written on canvas with enamel and aluminum paint with glass (Pollock, 1952). The artist introduced a radically new style and surprised people. This style is still incomprehensible to part of the audience and is perceived critically. Moreover, the painting has a controversial history of creation but paved the way for bold and innovative actions in art (National Gallery of Australia (NGA), 2018). Even though the canvas seems careless, its elements are carefully thought out.
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Blue poles, at first glance, may seem like a work of no value, like inked canvas. However, a detailed study of the picture showed fractal nature in patterns, thereby proving the painting’s value (Alvarez-Ramirez et al., 2019; Messham-Muir, 2015). Thoughtful and accurate patterns, their complexity in composition also indicates that Pollock entirely painted the picture despite suspicions of other artists’ involvement (NGA, 2018). According to Wolfe (n.d.), the formation of such a drip-style of the artist was influenced by World War II events. Unable to reflect on all the horrors of the war or facing a creative impasse after the horrible events, artists could not engage in fine art. Pollock, in turn, came up with “action painting,” which gave him freedom in expression (Wolfe, AD). The technique became popular, revealing a new art page.
Blue poles are also a reflection of the artist’s internal state. According to Messham-Muir (2015), the picture is a psychological manifestation, while the artist suffered from depression at that time. I would like to share the approach of Messham-Muir (2015), not asking typical questions about whether everyone can do such a thing but considering the context and what the artist puts into his work. Although these connections do not relate to my life, I believe that events like those that influenced Pollock are essential. War, or other traumatic circumstances such as terrorism, are reflected in the internal state of people. As a result, the artist suffered from depression, and in other people, such confusion can cause similar disorders. The picture simultaneously reflects the entanglement of life, trauma, consciousness, and chaos.
This work was not censored by the government, as its controversy is manifested in style and not in the image. Censorship is a rather matter of dispute as it may limit creativity and its manifestations, and for this reason, its application to art, I consider unjustified. However, the role in this issue is also played by the division of what is an art and what is not. For example, the use of artists and their works for propaganda and manipulation can be limited through censorship.
Thus, the Blue Poles created by Jackson Pollock demonstrate his unique style, his invention of “action painting.” The significance and influence of the painting are that thanks to an innovative approach, it inspired other artists to be bold in their work. Moreover, the new style helped the creators move on after the traumatic events of World War II. According to Martin and Jacobus (2018), real art should be a revelation, which distinguishes it from artlike pieces. I believe that having evaluated the context in which the picture was created and its significance, the Blue Poles meet this requirement and is an example of art. Its value and importance are also confirmed by Messham-Muir (2015), Wolfe (n.d.), and Alvarez-Ramirez et al. (2019). The meaning that the audience can see in the painting also makes it a critical subject of art.
Alvarez-Ramirez, J., Rodriguez, E., Martinez-Martinez, F., & Echeverria, J. C. (2019). Fractality of Riopelle abstract expressionism paintings (1949–1953): A comparison with Pollock’s paintings. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 526, 1-12. Web.
Martin, F. D., & Jacobus, L. A. (2018). The humanities through the arts. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Messham-Muir, K. (2015). Here’s looking at: Blue poles by Jackson Pollock. The Conversation. Web.
National Gallery of Australia (NGA). (2018). Painted by drunks! Medium. Web.
Pollock, J. (1952). Blue poles (Number 11, 1952) [painting]. National Gallery of Australia (NGA), Canberra, Australia.
Wolfe, S. (n.d.). Stories of iconic artworks: How Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles caused an uproar in Australia. Artland. Web.