"Pollock" Film Critique. An In Depth Analysis Of How The Film Depicts Pollock As A Man, And Abstract Expressionism As An Art Style

1420 words - 6 pages

"Pollock" film critique"Pollock" (2001) deals with the subject of Abstract Expressionism by using a very interesting strategy. Framing Abstract Expressionism as a "movement" in American art, though the cohesiveness of the group of artists associated with Abstract Expressionism or lack of it is never really explored, the film functions through metonymy, allowing Pollock to represent the whole of Abstract Expressionism. For this reason, the chief message that the film conveys to its audience about Abstract Expressionism is hard to pin down, since the film goes about an exploration of Pollock the artist through an exploration of Pollock the man."Pollock" focuses primarily on Pollock's personal ...view middle of the document...

Pollock's apparent failure to mature into an adult who can take care of himself forces Krasner's character into the role of mother, like when Krasner takes him home from the motel where he has apparently collapsed, puts him to bed and feeds him milk like a baby. These situations in which Krasner acts as mother-savior form a tragic cycle with the endless repetition of Pollock's episodes of alcoholism and anger. His character vacillates between a vegetative, lifeless state (passed out, dirty and incoherent, in front of the little girl's apartment building) and in a state of public debauchery (like his urinating in the fire place and stumbling around at Peggy Guggenheim's party) which foretell his eventual tragic personal failures and his death. In the end, as a result of his alcoholism and manic-depressive nature, Pollock fails to maintain his relationship with Krasner, giving her up in favor of an apparently vapid young woman who he brings unapologetically down with him.The action of the movie is driven by Pollock's furious energy which comes to a tragic climax with his death. The movie envisions Pollock's paintings as an extension of this mental and emotional turmoil which is probably fairly accurate. Pollock's complete lack of reality, lack of perception, translates in the film to his incredible talent for doing new things with art. In most of the scenes where Pollock is seen painting, he is pictured alone in his studio, indicating that his internal life is the primary or perhaps only source for his art. At one point, when Krasner says that you must "abstract from life, from nature," Pollock responds by saying, "I am nature". This dialogue reinforces the film's apparent assertion that Pollock himself is the subject of his painting; that the paintings are a visual representation of the man's psyche and biography. This image recurs when he is pictured alone in his studio contemplating the huge empty canvas for Peggy Guggenheim's commission and the lighting throws Pollock's shadow on the blank space. His art is framed as an expression abstracted from his internal life, from his anger, from his overall failure as a sane human.The depiction of Pollock as a tortured soul, however, who uses art as an outlet for self-expression of his misery, is a flat representation since the audience gets no sense in the film of the origins of Pollock's cruel and self-destructive behavior. This simplistic representation of Pollock's character forces Abstract Expressionism as a whole category into a framework of emotional apocalypse and social failure without explanation as far as the film allows Pollock to constitute the a definition of Abstract Expressionism. Although the focus of the film is certainly the artist and his art, the importance of Abstract Expressionism as the work of many innovators in the world of visual art is...

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