The Deep by Jackson Pollock

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The Deep by Jackson Pollock

Painting NameThe Deep
Painter NameJackson Pollock
Completion Date1953
Size150.7 cm × 220.4 cm (59.3 in × 86.8 in)
TechniqueEnamel, Oil
Current LocationCentre Georges Pompidou Paris France

Jackson Pollock’s Drip paintings became known to the world from 1940s and 1950s when his star was the brightest in his whole career. The American artist’s whole career was based on newly invented technique which is sometimes described as the blend of Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism and Cubism with his own Drip technique.

This blend mostly created a joyous creation which would get the viewer’s attention and get them instantly interpreting the work. Pollock’s popular work, No. 5, 1948 (ranking in world’s most expensive paintings sold) is a good example of it.

The Deep Analysis

The current painting is mostly done with black and white, the essential colors. There are some specks of light blue and yellow, though. Just like Pollock’s other works, it’s huge with size of 5 x 7 feet made with oil and enamel on canvas. Unlike conventional artists, Jackson would lay the canvas on the ground and then would while putting one of his leg on it (sometimes), he would start his work.

After his success, one photographer has gone to his house for some clicks. That time, Pollock was about to produce another Drip painting. Pollock asked the photographer to do his job while he would do his. The photographer, later on said that Pollock was totally immersed into the work while he was doing it. After a while, he even forgot about the fact that a photographer was taking his photos. He was deep into his art.

We could take the white color as the surface and the black part being the deep chasm where a person’s deep secrets hide. The secrets, which doesn’t surface often even to the person himself. Over the time, the chasm, the deep becomes mysterious with darkness for reason that it stayed untouched for a long time. This deep is where the person’s true self resides, but he himself never dares to look into it.


In the painting, if one could look through the dark surface after contemplating for long enough, he starts to look much deeper than it appears. At that time, the thoughts which comes up would be nothing but the reflection of his own unconscious, the deep. We can relate this phenomena with the “Rorschach Test” in which a person would see things in a meaningless, abstract images. Basing on the viewer’s answers the scientists try to interpret the person’s mindset.

Through an abstract with an indicative name, Jackson Pollock has tried to encourage everyone to think about the Deep. Obviously, the Deep is going to be interpreted in many ways, just like Rorschach test suggests. Someone would call it just a combination of colors, others would go for philosophical meanings. In any way, instead of interpreting the art to its original meanings, chances are they are going to reflect their own thoughts. Maybe that’s the depth conveyed.

Can we generalize the idea of Rorschach effect in our lives where we just interpret meanings of people and their action, ‘guessing’ about the truth and keep going on with our interpretations.

On this idea, someone has defended himself, ‘I am responsible for my words, not for what you understand.’


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