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Practice, Perception, and Pollock: Towards a Neurological Reading of Jackson Pollock’s Drip Paintings

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Title: Practice, Perception, and Pollock: Towards a Neurological Reading of Jackson Pollock’s Drip Paintings
Author: Correia, Kim
Department: School of Fine Art and Music
Program: Art History and Visual Culture
Advisor: Boetzkes, Amanda
Abstract: The ambiguity of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings begs for a new interpretation of his work, and even Pollock admits, “When I am painting I am not much aware of what is taking place.” This thesis aims to present a possible explanation of the meaning of Pollock’s drip paintings specifically through the use of neuroarthistory, ecological perception, and fractal theory. The analysis presented here considers the way biography, specifically the ecological environment, imprints the brain and is transformed into a formal pattern in the work of art. Pollock’s canvases demonstrate a sustained reflection on how we see and represent the world and how neural preferences are established. In addition, this thesis also addresses how neuroscience can better illuminate our understanding of the relationship between the viewer and the work of art through embodied experience. It is not simply the eye, as Clement Greenberg argued, where vision takes place, rather it is within a complex system that extends beyond the body. Not only does this thesis provide new insights into Pollock’s art, but his work is a useful way into the debates about the emerging, complex field of a neurological approach to art.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/7493
Date: 2013-09


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