Alex M. Wolff Fine Art

Forgotten Splatter JP


Here There Everywhere

Alex M. Wolff

Being an artist, being married to an artist, raising an artist, art is a destination in my life. Art is Here There Everywhere , in nature, in our homes, in museums, in our galleries, and sometimes left behind, unknowing, fully blossomed or just seeds for another creator. We celebrated my wife Joanne’s August 2014 birthday with a visit to the home and studio Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner created in in East Hampton, NY. Make no mistake, Lee Krasner for us was an equal attraction to Jackson Pollock, and it was a chance to show our daughter Alex a place where art was created. We did not know exactly what we would see or do while we were there, but we were hoping to create some splatter art of our own (and we did).

I am a Photographic Artist and always bring a camera with me as looking for something to photograph is part of my everyday routine, at home or on the road. For this visit in particular, I had brough my brand new Sony NEX-7 mirrorless digital camera and a few lenses. I use mostly Nikon cameras for my above the water-line shoots, but I had to learn the camera functions so I can capture some underwater marine-life for my Underwater Dreaming collection. Mostly for size and quality consideration, Sony has become my go to underwater camera, and mastering the camera before my next trip to Grand Cayman for turtles was imperative. We put on shoe protectors (really floor protectors) and followed the docent through the house and into the studio where Pollock and Krasner worked. It was spacious and had a lot of window light, and as can be expected there was a huge amount of open space to work on a floor with ample benches and tables around to hold paints, brushes, and other tools the 2 artists used for their creations. It did not hit me initially but as the docent related how the light quality on Long Island at various times of the year was a major reason for purchasing in East Hampton, the floor called to me, very loudly.

It had never occurred to me that Splatter Painting would be so messy. In a process where housepaint is deliberately dripped, splashed, laid, and squirted onto a canvas, spills and misses are inevitable. Evidently the floor of the studio was not well protected by newspaper as it would have been in my mother’s house. As different floor sections were used for different projects of different sizes, the mess was very inconsistent, and like the oceans I love to photograph have empty spaces as well as crowded spaces, the splatter on the floor was different everywhere I looked.

Cameras generally need more light than the human eye and the room was not particularly well lit. Hand holding the sony, I framed different parts of the floor as the drops and spills suggested. Before I knew it, the tour was over but I had lots of photos of the floor. Back home on the computer there were no surprises, the images looked like an old floor with paint on it. Contrast was low, saturation was lower, and some of the images were soft due to issues with focusing and slow shutter speeds. However, it is a digital world and I was inspired to preserve the paint applications as Polock left it, but to bring impact to each image with what I thought was just the right amount of adjustments to the background and the colors I found in the underlying floor as well as the housepaint that may have sat there unappreciated.

The Forgotten Splatter JP Collection is my second Splatter series, the first going back to film days when I would photograph diesel fuel and oil stains as they reconstituted in the streets on rainy days. Those images were displayed in the gallery at Modernage labs downtown in the early 80s. There are a few differences in the work, most notably the original series was wet, on film, had no digital manipulation, and was, more or less, a collaboration with nature. Although the color came from pollution, the visible designs were influenced by the rain. The JP series was shot dry, and digitally with the intent of computer enhancement using Lightroom and Photoshop.

I work each image separately, examining and manipuating the lines, patterns, textures and colors, careful not to move or change the shapes painted by Jackson Pollock as he missed the canvas, perfectly, time after time. If not in actual collaboration, the inspiration of each image in the collection came from the seeds of inspiration I felt when I first looked at the floor in the studio.

Each image can be tiled in such a way as to create new images with no limits to the size of a final piece, and no limit to the combination of tile styles and final images. I frequently refer to these as kaleidoscopes, a they remind me of the cardboard tubes I held to my eye as a child.

No photograph is complete until it is printed. My living collaborative partner, John Joseph Dowling, Jr. is a master printer. Together we test printers, ink sets and media until we create the perfect archival print, be it on canvas, metallic paper or other media option.

JACKSON POLLOCK STUDIO ® is used under license from the trademark holder Stonybrook Foundation.

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