A portrayal of a mental illness living in an artist or an artist living with mental illness; alcohol was the self prescribed medication. Obviously what threw pollack over the edge was the end of his 15 minutes of fame. Sad that an artists worth only appreciates after there is no more production. Typically the ego is so inflated after the galactic interlude, the spiral into normalcy is self destructive. I've seen it happen in people not so famous, but equally talented in their profession.
While this film is flooded with holes in Pollacks short career, we do get a glimpse of his struggle and process. I was sorry that a few other notable artist that were a part of Pollacks art scene were not portrayed during this great period of time. Mark Rothko, Louise Nevelson and Robert Motherwell to name a few. Also, Pollack worked as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for a short time. This environment was partly responsible for exposing him to the dominant European invasion of art in America. I would have liked more in depth insights into why Pollack began painting and why he was so tortured. Ed Harris does a fine job with the material he was working with, but they could have covered more bases in Pollacks life and I know Harris would have stepped up to the plate.
In one scene Pollack is pacing back and forth in front of a large blank canvass. It is a stunning scene watching his shadow run along that large white surface waiting for the moment he would begin to paint. Another scene takes us to East Hampton where he is kneeling down out in the salt marshes staring into a tide pool. Just this pose alone suggests a precursor to removing the canvass from the wall and placing it on the floor.
There are a few quiet moments that capture the subtle Pollack and I wish they explored more in this direction. In so many of these artist portrayals the essence of the process and inspiration gets lost in the drama of their personalities.
However, this movie takes on an ambitious man and an ambitious time in American Art. I was grateful to have seen with my own eyes several Pollack shows over the years and to have studied and experimented myself with Abstract Expressionism.
I think Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden should be nominated for their incredible portrayals of these two great artists. Moreover, whether you know a great deal about Pollack, this film will allow you to glimpse into the life of Jackson, but it will also expose you to his wonderful partner, Lee Krasner.
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