For this past tuesday, our assignment was to go to the High Museum of Art and write a reaction essay of 2 artists and compare/contrast in terms of form and texture. The two artists I’m writing about are Jackson Pollock and Romare Bearden.
Jackson Pollock “White Light”
The two different pieces by each artist I’m focusing on are Jackson Pollock’s “White Light” and Romare Bearden’s “Patchwork Quilt.” Both pieces are simple in terms of execution, but the forms are different. Bearden has more of an environmental form using only a couple of forms of mixed media to create a whole composition. Those uses of mixed media add to the use of texture in Bearden’s composition. The different patches at the top of the composition compared to the patchwork at the bottom of the composition make the entire work a realistic view of a woman on a sofa, where the texture creates a patchwork quilt (hence the name). Unlike Bearden, Jackson Pollock uses more of a uniform form of texture throughout the entire composition. In “White Light” the entire composition has the same types of strokes almost in a balanced form. However, since there is a lot of different strokes and colors, one doesn’t really see the balance in the texture that Pollock has in this composition. The main difference in terms of texture between Bearden and Pollock is that Bearden uses texture to create a realistic setting, like a woman on a sofa, whereas Pollock uses texture to show some form of organization in his expressionist composition.
Bearden: Romare Bearden seems to be using mixed media to create an everyday event. Looking at “Patchwork Quilt.” It creates a woman laying on a quilt using actual patches.
Pollock: “White Light” looks like a stream of conciousness. Pollock’s intention was to create a stream of conciousness, but if you look at the composition at different angles or at different distances, the idea of white light is different.
Bearden: The different elements that Bearden uses seem to be patches, different types of paper and cloth. The different elements show different textures as well as colors.
Pollock: Pollock’s main element is paint. However his element takes on different forms with different types of strokes and thicknesses.
Bearden: Exploring different compositions by Bearden, the common theme is race. Growing up during the Harlem Rennaisance, there is some resemblance in his work of that of different artists in the 20s and 30s. Artists such as Archibald Motley and Palmer Hayden depict people dancing, interacting or simply walking down the street. Like them, Bearden creates an everyday setting but with mixed media.
Pollock: A contributor to the abstract expressionist movement, Pollock has used paint as his main medium. His paintings are literally his expressions on canvas, he commented once in an interview “My painting does not come from the easel. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.”
Bearden: Things that may not be understood about Bearden’s work is that how do these compositions reflect upon his life. Also, there isn’t that much organization as to a specific color pallette for each of his compositions.
Pollock: The untrained eye would be unable to understand Jackson Pollock’s compositions. One wouldn’t think to look at the composition from different angles or look closely to one quadrant of the composition. The lack of knowledge of Pollock’s history or the era that Pollock painted in would also aid to the lack of understanding.
Bearden: Bearden uses forms such as movement and environmental. In “Patchwork Quilt” the composition is simply a sofa and a person. The mixed media for the person creates a silhouette of a person without facial or body details.
Pollock: Looking at “White Light”, based upon the strokes Pollock uses and the colors he has used, the main form that’s seen in this composition is movement. The directions of the white strokes see half of the strokes going to the left diagonal and the other half to the right diagonal.
Bearden: Bearden was an artist during the civil rights movement, and his homage to the Harlem Renaissance creates a need to become aware of the life as an African American during this era. He did meet the goal to create awareness of civil rights through his art.
Pollock: Pollock is an artist that’s exactly synonomous to abstract. He is one of the main contributors to the abstract expressionist movement.
Bearden: The compositions by Bearden imply that there is a historical message behind them all based upon when they were composed, when he grew up
Pollock: Pollock’s compositions, such as white light, is introducing the masses to a new form of art known as abstract expressionism. It will lead to several artists trying their hand on letting their consciousness take control of their movements and attempt to make art.