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Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) was the leading exponent of what is usually called Abstract Expressionist Art. His apparently random method of painting with splashes and drips of paint onto a canvas st...retched on the floor suggest to many that his work is governed by chance. Charles Harrison examines a number of Pollock's paintings and especially Black/White/Grey (1948) and discusses how they were made and what they represent. The programme includes some film of Pollock himself working on a painting in 1950.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: U201, Risk
Item code: U201; 10
First transmission date: 02-09-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:36
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Producer: Richard Callanan
Contributors: Charles Harrison; Jackson Pollock; Lee Krasner Pollock
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Abstract expressionist art; Art; Jackson Pollock; Painting
Footage description: The programme begins with film of Jackson Pollock painting. Over shots of his paintings Charles Harrison talks about Pollock and his work and how it can be interpreted. In the studio Charles Harrison describes the aims of the programme and then talks about some of Pollock's early paintings, his interest in psychoanalysis and his use of images from mythology. Shots of The She-Wolf and War are used to illustrate these ideas and Pollock's techniques, which were designed to allow him to paint and draw with pace and rhythm. Charles Harrison now looks in depth at one Pollock painting, Black/White/Grey, painted in 1948. He describes the rhythm of the lines and the consistencies of the different paints. He describes the amount of control Pollock appears to have had over the paints and the ways in which they have reacted together. Shots of Pollock painting on a sheet of glass. Further shots of Black/White/Grey. Charles Harrison continues his analysis of the painting describing the textures and contrasts of the work. Shots of Pollock painting outside, with his own commentary. He explains his working methods and his desire to express his emotions rather than illustrate them. Lee Kranser Pollock describes her husband's painting technique. Charles Harrison talks about the problem of deciding how any abstract art relates to other experiences and knowledge. He compares Pollocks paintings to works by Grasz and Kandinsky. He argues that Pollock's work is more open and speculative than the work of many other abstract painters. He then discusses Black/ White/Grey again, pointing out the differences between the top and bottom halves of the picture. He then relates the abstract paintings of the 50s to Pollock's earlier and later works. Shots of One No 31. Harrison quotes Pollock talking about murals and then gives a description of what he thinks Pollock was attempting to do. Finally he describes the composition of the painting Portrait and a Dream, relating it to the history of art and Pollocks responsiveness to the unforeseen. This in turn is used to show that the artist must have courage and be open to the possibility of change.
Production number: FOUD018P
Videofinder number: 1319
Available to public: no