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Color Field Painting
Willem de Kooning
Thomas Hart Benton was Pollock’s teacher in New York at the Art Students’ League. Benton showed Pollock a sweeping, rhythmic compositional structure he could use with big canvases. Benton painted huge WPA Depression Era murals so huge surfaces were his specialty.
Pollock studied Picasso’s Cubist work and appropriated the flattened structures of Cubism. Pollock was able to see the Picasso exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, in 1939
He also used elements from the Surrealists. They used “automatic writing” and Freudian principles. Pollock used Jungian analysis. He felt that he could liberate the power of the unconscious by letting his hand draw freely.
Pollock let go of representing figures. Instead, he concentrated on pure color and using his full body and arm to paint large canvases. Dripping or pouring paint on to the canvas quickly became his favorite method. This allowed him to pursue a direction spontaneously. He also got more transparency with these changes. He is largely credited for evolving the visual language for Abstract Expressionism.