Blog: What do Jackson Pollock and the Surrealists have in Common?

Christine Alfery

Posted on October 14 2021

Blog: What do Jackson Pollock and the Surrealists have in Common?

Featured image: Sandpiper

The gestural action paintings of Jackson Pollock and the automatic writing and making art of the surrealists had a common interest. The common interest was the desire for releasing the mind, self and soul from a dependency on anything. Both were searching for freedom. Freedom is defined as what comes naturally and without coercion.

Freedom is a tricky concept. I approach the concept of freedom and the nature of things by searching for it, trying to recognize it and in turn, acknowledging anything that I am dependent upon. An excellent example, one I have used often when writing this blog, is when I don’t like something in my work and I want to change it. I usually end up changing it/ fixing it the same way. I am dependent on a very comfortable way of fixing things. I am also dependent on thinking it has to be some way or another or perfect. This generally happens when I create something kind of realistic or representational like my birds. I notice that there are many artists who do the same thing. If you are dependent on something, anything, you cannot be free. Freedom cannot be dependent on anything. This is an impossibility but is always worth a try at getting closer and closer to the concept. Freedom needs to be totally independent and individualized – like ones unique soul or self.

I had a friend that I frequently had morning coffee with as we talked about politics and art. One morning I made the statement, “I fight for freedom, not only for myself but also for others.” She replied, "So do I." The thing is, how we approach and achieve freedom for ourselves, and others couldn’t be further apart. We are 100% apart as to how to achieve this. I would like to think that my way is the right way and hers is the wrong way but my interest in the unique individual stops me from doing this. The difference that will keep our ideas about freedom apart is that she excludes others if they don’t do things the way that she thinks they should be achieved. She once said to me that we have laws that will enforce things. The trouble is that when you force others through a law to comply – there is no way freedom can exist – no way.

I don’t believe an individual should be forced but should always have choice and live with their choices good or bad and learn from them. If they have others determining and telling that this is the way to be free – the whole concept of freedom is lost.

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