Pollock One Number 31 1950.jpg

Pollock: One: Number 31, 1950

In a 1950 profile on Jackson Pollock for the New Yorker, his wife Lee Krasner explained that his methodology for titling paintings was because “numbers are neutral. They make people look at a picture for what it is — pure painting.”

Pollock added, “I decided to stop adding to the confusion.…There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was. It was a fine compliment. Only he didn't know it.”

“That's exactly what Jackson's work is,” said Krasner. “Sort of unframed space.”

Watching the 2000 biopic Pollock starring Ed Harris was my first encounter with seeing how Pollock worked in his studio (now thanks to YouTube we have the real thing). What struck me the most, long before reading the above interview, was how it was an apt metaphor for God — especially God as my 16-year-old self wanted to see him. Rather than the “sinners in the hands of an angry God”–God, could it be that, if there was a God, he was a Jackson Pollock–like figure, dripping us all lovingly (albeit randomly) from his brush?

With Pollock himself considering his paintings to be without beginning or end, and Krasner calling them unframed space, the metaphor feels even more apt.

Today’s contemplation: Notice the other beings you come into contact with throughout the course of your day. Is it all chaos? Or is it pure painting? And if it’s the latter, can you sense the same stripes of paint we all share? Can you consider how we all exist in this unframed space together?