Jackson Pollock was a very progressive artist for his time. To some people, his works may seem to be too simple or the ones that could have been painted by a child. However, Pollock mirrored the world as well as the spirit of the time is his works. His 1950 painting entitled Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) is an outstanding work of art as it perfectly illustrates the fragile balance between chaos and control, reflects complexity of nature, and awakes various emotions in its viewers.
Being an outstanding American artist, Pollock influenced generations of painters around the globe; his work and life, however, are still controversial even today. He was born in 1912 and lived only 44 years. At his time, Pollock was a famous and respected painter; nevertheless, he suffered from alcohol abuse and died because of it. In fact, many critics, scholars, and ordinary viewers debate over Pollock’s achievements and the importance of his contribution to the development of the abstract expressionism movement. All of them, however, acknowledge that he and his works are extraordinary.
Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) is an impressing work in terms of not only its content but the size as well. The painting is approximately nine feet tall and about seventeen feet wide. Unsurprisingly, many people consider it as one of Pollock’s greatest achievements. The artist put the canvas on the floor and then dripped, poured, and splashed enamel paints on it. In Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), he glorified the very act of painting with its accidental nature.
Pollock’s painting serves as a perfect example of the fragile balance between accident, chaos, and control – the main feature of the artist’s unique technique. He extends the boundaries of how works of art should be created and perceived. In Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), Pollock makes his viewers look at the painting as if they were perceiving music that unfolds in front of their eyes. Thus, he expresses his love for Jazz highly popular at the times of the painting’s creation and reflects its creative and spontaneous nature. Thus, Pollock creates an abstract composition with barely noticeable structures and chaotic elements, which paradoxically appear to be fluid and harmonious. The very Pollock’s process of creation of Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) is a complex activity and cannot be explained only by such words as “dripped” and “poured”; the diversity of the artist’s movements can be also described as flicking, dribbling, and splattering among others. In fact, he used a variety of muscular gestures inevitably resulting in painting. Pollock expressed control in creation of a linear skeleton of black paint on the canvas, first of all. Then, he accidentally wove turquoise, brown, and white lines into a complicated web over the black framework. The contrast lines create different heavy and bouncy, bright and dark, straight and crooked, horizontal and vertical rhythms that remind the ones of nature.
Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) is reminiscent of nature in its title as well as sense of space, colors, and orientation. The repetitive, increasing, and steady dynamics of Pollock’s creative process seems to be the same to the process of evolving of patterns in nature. Thus, gravity plays a very important role in the process of creating of both the nature and the artist. According to Taylor, Micolich, and Jonas, “By abandoning the easel, the horizontal canvas became for Pollock a physical terrain to be traversed. His approach in working from all four sides replicated the isotropy (having the same properties in all directions) and homogeneity of many natural patterns” (2). Thus, the artist tried to be as close to the nature as possible in order to mirror its complicated character. Pollock’s decision to leave the canvas unframed is one of his attempts to be closer to the natural environment. Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) reminds of autumnal shrill winds as well as falling and fading leaves on the wet cold ground.
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Pollock’s painting awakes a wide range of emotions and impresses by its extraordinary intricacy and simplicity. At the first sight, it may make the viewer feel disturbed, worried, and messy. However, if to look deeper, one can see not only decay but also growth in the chaotic rhythms of autumn. The perfectness and completeness of the lines and harmonic chaos of patterns can make the viewer feel like Buddha with his calm perception of death and birth of the world while staring at the painting. Looking at Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), the beholder unavoidably starts to imagine the variety of gestures and movements forming a ritual dance that shaped the painting. Pollock left interpretation of the painting in the minds of the viewers. Consequently, Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) might have numerous interpretations, and this is what attracts people the most as everyone sees something unique and personal in these simple at the first sight patterns. Finally, Pollock’s painting is a true work of art being a two-dimensional object that does fulfill aesthetic function in people.
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Thus, Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) is an outstanding work of art as it perfectly illustrates the fragile balance between chaos and control, mirrors complexity of the nature, and awakes various emotions in its viewers. Similar to jazz music, Pollock’s painting seems to be chaotic and accidental at the first sight; however, it is a well-considered work of art. The artist imitated the symphony of autumn and the nature in general on the canvas. Pollock’s painting is still visually powerful and impressing nowadays as it was at the time of its creation. Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) inspires its viewers to think of the sense of life and death, greatness of nature and the one who created it.