Easter and the Totem (1953) by Jackson Pollock

Easter and the Totem - Jackson Pollock - 1953

Artwork Information

TitleEaster and the Totem
ArtistJackson Pollock
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions84 x 58 cm
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

About Easter and the Totem

The artwork titled “Easter and the Totem” was created by artist Jackson Pollock in the year 1953. This oil on canvas piece is a representative of the Abstract Expressionism movement and has the dimensions of 84 cm by 58 cm. Despite being categorized under Abstract Expressionism, it possesses a figurative genre. Currently, this artwork is housed at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, New York, United States.

The artwork exemplifies Pollock’s characteristic abstract style, illustrating an interplay of shapes and colors that engage the observer in a visual exploration. The composition presents a spontaneous yet strategic arrangement of forms and strokes, channeling a sense of energy and motion. Pollock’s method, often termed as ‘action painting,’ involved a physical engagement with the canvas, an approach that is palpable in the dynamic and gestural quality of the work. Though abstract, one might discern semblances of totemic figures and elements that suggest a connection to primal or indigenous artifacts, perhaps playing with the viewer’s inclination to seek recognizable forms in the ostensibly chaotic assembly of lines and color splashes.

Examining the colors, there is a convergence of contrasting hues—from stark blacks and whites to vibrant oranges and pinks—enriching the complexity and depth of the piece. Pollock’s technique allows the colors to bleed and merge organically, creating interlocking fields and textures that reward close inspection. The painting’s title implies a thematic link to both a cultural celebration (Easter) and a symbol of indigenous sovereignty and spirituality (the totem), thus inviting interpretations that reach beyond the purely visual experience, engaging with the symbolic and the cultural. The artwork transcends simple aesthetic appreciation, challenging viewers to consider the broader contexts and influences at play.

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