|Jason McCoy Inc.
41 East 57 Street
New York 10022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stacked Color: Paintings from the 1960s
May 8 June 14, 2008
Jason McCoy Jason McCoy Inc. is pleased to present a selected group of Charles Pollock’s paintings and works on paper from the 1960s.
The 1960s marked a period of artistic freedom for Charles Pollock. He took a sabbatical year in Rome in 1962 and became an artist-in-residence at the University of Pennsylvania in 1965 and 1967. In 1967, he received both the Guggenheim Grant and the National Foundation of Arts Grant, allowing him to retire from teaching. That same year he moved with his wife and year-old daughter to New York, where he began working on a new body of work in his studio in the Bowery.
In these works from the 1960s, Charles Pollock continued his exploration of color and, in fact, made it his main focus. Along these lines, he began to simplify the structure of his paintings. He made his compositions less dense and moved from biomorphic to geometric form. Monochromatic grounds are contrasted with rectangular shapes that are made of diagonal and harmonizing color stacks. Emanating a strong transcendental quality, these ethereal constructs seem to be floating in space, at once emergent from and receding into the surrounding atmosphere. Hinting at the underlying theme of existentiality, Pollock stated in 1965 that to him “color [...was] the means by which a dialogue is possible between the painter and his world.” And in his monograph on the artist, Terence Maloon explained the richness of dualistic dynamics in this particular body of work as follows:
“The poetic effects arising from Charles’ new motif confound density and airiness, opaque and transparent, empty and full, frontal and oblique, simple and complex, invitation and repulse, abstract and figurative, comfort and austerity, apartment and studio, a trick of the mind and a trick of the light.”
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 Michigan State University. In 1971 he moved to Paris, where he spent the last seventeen years of his life. He died in 1988 at the age of 85.
Stephanie B. Simmons
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