Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jackson Pollock / Fractals (July 17, 2009)

(posted to Facebook, July 17, 2009)

Fractal [frak-tl] (n.) a geometrical or physical structure having an irregular or fragmented shape at all scales of measurement between a greatest and smallest scale such that certain mathematical or physical properties of the structure, as the perimeter of a curve or the flow rate in a porous medium, behave as if the dimensions of the structure (fractal dimensions) are greater than the spatial dimensions.

This note will serve to be a kind of annotated bibliography, at least for now. Enjoy.

Ivars Peterson's MathTrek. "Jackson Pollock's Fractals." 20 Sep 1999.
Pollock would start by painting a series of loops, then covering his designs with drips, then splatters, until he created a dense layer of chaos that covered the loops. Physicist-artist Richard Taylor studied Pollock's art for fractals. Fractals are evident in coastlines, ferns, tree branches, and snowflakes. They are subconsciously pleasing. Film of Pollock painting suggests that small fractals are created by the drips themselves and and larger fractals are created by Pollock's movements around the canvas. See Pollock's Alchemy and Blue Poles, Number 11. "Jackson Pollock's Art and Fractal Analysis." 4 Dec 2006.
This article also references Richard Taylor's study, but presents a disagreement by the fact that designs created in a few minutes with Adobe Photoshop can be as fractal as Pollock's art. (Perhaps, then, fractals do not take much skill to create?) The article mostly argues against Taylor's research because studying fractals is not a reliable way to determine whether or not a painting is an authentic Pollock.
See also:

Randy Kennedy. "The Case of Pollock's Fractals Focuses on Physics."
2 Dec 2006.
Another article about the denied possibility of identifying authentic Pollock artwork based on analyzing fractals.

Jennifer Oullette. "Pollock's Fractals." 1 Nov 2001.
Very interesting article. It is my opinion that Pollock's work takes a great amount of skill. If I tried, I'm certain I wouldn't create something as pretty as Pollock could. It also portrays truth because, even if it wasn't intended, the fact that his drips come together to create an ordered and harmonious pattern of fractals reveal the truth that we live in an ordered universe. Lastly, while beauty is largely
subjective... I believe Pollock's work to be attractive on some level.

Richard Taylor. "Fractal Expressionism." June 2000.
Written by the researcher mentioned in the first two articles. Very interesting. Proposes the theory that there can be order in what appears to be chaos. Levy flights. Thanks to Worldview, it is evident that Richard Taylor's worldview is very different from mine. The possibility of nature actually being ordered does not seem to enter his thinking at all.

Other reading:

All in all, Pollock seems to be my new favorite artist. :)

Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles, Number 11

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