Black and White (Number 6) Jackson Pollock Jackson Pollock Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Although also famous for his use of colour, Black and White Number 6 (1951) signifies a slight departure from this tendency.

Known for his unique style of drip painting, Jackson Pollock is certainly one of the most famous abstract expressionist painters of the 20th century.

First and foremost, we should note that this painting was created as a result of his experimentation with avoiding bright tones.

Often referred to as the "Black Pourings" period, many of these works failed to attract the attention of critics who were more accustomed to his brighter style.

Black and White Number 6 is one representation of such a divergence. It also must be mentioned that this was the very same time when Pollock began to use alcohol excessively.

Fractal Influences

Like many of his other works, Black and White Number 6 has been shown to possess fractal qualities. To put this another way, it exhibits multiple patterns which recur on both small and large scales.

It should still be noted that unlike many of his earlier and later pieces, this painting embraces a more swirling and sinuous characteristic when compared to the drip style that he is famous for.

A Hint of Fury

One of the reasons why Pollock ceased naming his paintings and instead gave them numbers was to allow the viewer to interpret them without any preconceived notions.

Thus, many feel that Black and White Number 6 reflects a certain amount of chaotic fury. Others merely attribute its form to the habit of Pollock to allow his mind complete freedom during the process.

Either way, Black and White Number 6 is in stark (literally and figuratively) contrast to other works such as Convergence, Shimmering Substance and Unformed Figure. This is arguably one of the reasons why Black and White Number 6 is intriguing to the beholder. His use of colour has been replaced by a silent tale of fractal chaos.