Rob Parry

Jackson Pollock’s ‘Blind Spots’ – The Tate

Blind Spots, the Jackson Pollock exhibition which was recently shown at the Tate, gives a deeper insight into Pollock’s art by focussing on a lesser-known point of his career. The majority of the show is devoted to his work from 1951 and 1952, the years when he drained almost all the of the colour from his paintings and began producing them in bleak thickets of black and white known as his Black Paintings.

The show takes no care to ease you in, presupposing that you already know a little about Pollock and abstract art, but even without context the Black Paintings are still fascinating. One of their most interesting features is Pollock’s use of figures – you don’t really notice them when you first see the paintings, but as you look closer, the swirls and lashes of paint begin to congeal into faces and bodies – shadowy and contorted, more Rorschach test than human, but recognisable all the same.

Photo: Hans Namuth Estate/Centre for Creative Photography, University of Arizona

Photo: Hans Namuth Estate/Centre for Creative Photography, University of Arizona

This was surprising – I never really thought of Pollock as painting things – but the gallery’s decision to focus on these lesser famous paintings pays off. In the past, I’ve suspected modern artists of making stuff up as they go along, but Blind Spots refutes this by showing you Pollock purposefully adding and removing different elements from his work to produce different yet mesmerising effects. It was an excellent opportunity to see an artist’s development and all in all well worth a trip to the docks.

Feature Image: tate.org.uk

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