02 November, 2011

Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock and Ideas

Yellow Trees, Blue Forest
9" x 7"
Casey Klahn

This post was originally published in 2008.

It was a great joy to receive the following question from a second grade teacher located in Mexico:

Hi. I would like to know what do you think about the idea of Rockwell of painting Pollock’s in his.

I am teaching 2nd graders about Pollock and I have found it more complex that just dripping!

My reply:

Thank you for the question.

Maybe you saw my post about an image named The Connoisseur that Norman Rockwell did of the well heeled museum patron in front of a Jackson Pollock painting. 

I have a special affinity for NR, as I studied art via the Norman Rockwell Famous Artist's Course for Talented Young People when I was not much older than your second graders. He deserves the renewed interest that the art public is giving him, in my opinion.

On your question. What artist doesn't want to be liked for their artwork? Certainly there was a great deal of "artistic courage" that both of these famous artists exhibited.

NR was big enough in his heart to portray the wholly different painting style of the emerging super artist Jackson Pollock, and at the same time doing this with irony and humor. That was his trademark.

I don't see him passing any negative judgment in his painting, and as far as the art side of it is concerned, the man stands in the middle bottom of the painting, almost like a tree trunk whose canopy is the abstract painting. A wonderful idea, and difficult to pull off. Not at all following strict compositional rules. His talent in composing a painting is on show, here. That's irony, too!

JP had obvious "artistic courage" by not using regular oil paint or regular brushes or even regular primed canvases. He didn't use the easel, either. He was changing everything about painting, or as many things as he could think of to do.

As a contemporary artist, I have been given permission by JP to do more kinds of things to express my art than before he "broke" all those art rules. I choose to repeat my compositions over and over again, to make the point that the colors are the "meaning", not the trees. I like to get rid of "depth", so hammered into my brain by the great Norman Rockwell school. That reminds me (and maybe you, the viewer) that after all, you are looking at a painting about: color.


Casey Klahn


Anonymous said...

Hello Casey, Great post as ALWAYS!!! And the first thought that came into my head when I saw "Yellow TreesBlue Forest" was...OH the color!!!

Well done sir.

Sherrie Spangler said...

Yes, yes! It's hard to get some people to accept that a painting can be just about the color. Did you see the Rockwell exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museaum earlier this year? Fabulous.

Linda Roth said...

JP "painted" surfaces are beautiful. I wanted to run my hand over the texture of epoxy on unprimed, natural canvas. And the size of his work made his process even more of a challenge--with scaffolding etc. NR added the work of quite a few artists in his paintings; he liked examining the different styles. Both artists were masters who gave us interesting creative options.

SamArtDog said...

There you go again with your great timing. This repeat post reassures me that random simplicity and courageous color are what can occasionally make the JP iPhone app successful (though himself would probably think I'm way too controlling).

Casey Klahn said...

Nice to get a comment from you, Sherrie Spangler.

I appreciate the readers and commenters. Pollock's work and Rockwell's work do intersect in some ways, and it is just plain fun to be eclectic when looking at art.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism