|Jason McCoy Inc.
41 East 57 Street
New York 10022
Fax 212/319 4799
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charles Pollock (1902-1988)
The Chapala Series 1955-1956
March 8-April 21, 2007
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 8, 5-7 pm
Jason McCoy Inc. is pleased to present a selected group of Charles Pollock’s paintings and works on paper from the mid 1950s known as the Chapala Series.
From 1955 to 1956, Charles Pollock, the older brother of Jackson, lived in Ajijic, a small village in Mexico. About ten years earlier he had abandoned his Social Realist style, inspired by his former teacher Thomas Hart Benton, searching for a new form of artistic expression. While teaching design, printmaking, calligraphy and typography at Michigan State University (1942- 1967), he became increasingly focused on pure form and color relationships. It was in the quietude of Mexico’s Lake Chapala, when surrounded by ancient Mayan land, that he produced a body of work that would lay the groundwork for the art Pollock made from then on.
The Chapala series consists of thirty large drawings and fifteen paintings. All of these works are abstract and overtly inspired by calligraphy. They are immediately striking in their unique handling of light and form, which are employed to create distinct moods of atmospheric merit. In the paintings, both subtle color nuances and stark contrasts initiate a vibrancy that easily brings the Mexican mountain landscape to mind. Burnt sienna, earth brown, and translucent blues, for example, are fused into a harmonious mélange, while shapes reminiscent of simplified hieroglyphic fragments create a mysteriously codified language.
Born in 1902 in Denver, Colorado, Charles Pollock was the eldest of five boys (Marvin Jay, Frank Leslie, Sanford Leroy and Paul Jackson). He spent his childhood in the American West before his contact with the work of Max Weber, Orozco, Rivera and Thomas Hart Benton, took him to New York in 1926. There, he studied at the Art Students’ League and soon became Benton’s assistant and friend. From 1938 to 1942, he was the Supervisor of Mural Painting and Graphic Arts for the Federal Arts Project (WPA) in Michigan. From 1942 to 1967, he taught at the Michigan State University. He was an artist in residence at the University of Pennsylvania in 1965 and 1967, the recipient of a Guggenheim Grant in 1967-68 and a National Foundation of Arts Grant in 1967. He retired from teaching that year and moved to New York. In 1971 he moved to Paris, where he spent the last seventeen years of his life in Paris. He died in 1988 at the age of 85.
Stephanie B. Simmons
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