No. 1

Jackson Pollock. I feel like everyone knows him; or at least his work. He is the artist responsible for the ‘splatter paint’ pieces (or at least that’s what I see). I was instructed to view his piece titled No. 1, created in 1948.

(As per instructed) I viewed the art work without any prior thoughts or instructions. First, it looks like splatter paint. I can appreciate art; I love walking around museums of art. But this seems like one of those pieces a child could have created at first glance. Upon further inspection, (and learning more details of the piece) its obvious how much detail and time went into making this. The colors overlap each other perfectly and I like the total abstact-ness of it. People can see it any way they want; that’s the point. It must have taken Pollock a lot of time and endurance to create such a piece, especially considering its 6 X 9 feet.  If I were to see this in person, I’m positive the sheer size would be impressive enough. That’s not even taking into account the intricacy of the oils.

After looking at the piece, I then looked at the poem “Number 1 by Jackson Pollock (1948)” written by Nancy Sullivan. I really like it and her assertions about the painting. Her poem sums up the creativity of it and the different views people can have of it. She opens with:

No name but a number.
Trickles and valleys of paint
Devise this maze
Into a game of Monopoly
Without any bank.

That seems to be saying that this painting is very complex without any solid reasoning; its only paint. Yet that paint holds a lot of meaning for people that view it. It can have a meaning that can be taken from any time or place and still make sense. The painting itself seems to be more of a vessel for the viewers imagination and what they want to believe. Pollock created something that people can see differently; and I suppose that is the point. After all she does end the poem with:

How to realize his question
Let alone his answer?

After looking at the painting longer, I do like it and appreciate the complexity and creativity Pollock used to make it. There is reason it is so famous and revered after all.

No. 1 :



2 thoughts on “No. 1

  1. Thank You! As I’ve been reading through blogs in the search for ones to be commented on, I’ve noticed such an inability to dwell on the painting, and notice its redeeming qualities. I admire the ability to truly look at the painting, and I want to ask what mood the painting gave you? I found the yellowness of the canvas tempting, and was lulled into a warm embrace by the piece, but that was not the usual reception.


    • The painting has a positive ‘vibe’ to it. The yellow and blue is a happy color. However, I don’t know if I could go as far as saying its a ‘happy’ painting, considering the black splatters covering it. It’s more of a content mood; mostly good with a some bad.


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