Jackson Pollock fought with alcohol abuse and self-destructive behavior. He struggled to communicate his issues with his therapist who suggested he communicate through his art. I can relate to Pollock’s inability to communicate his troubles. As artists and designers, we build our careers by communicating visually. When it comes to verbal communication, we often fumble. Engaging with issues through art can help both the artist and the viewer even if the viewer doesn’t fully understand the meaning of a work of art.
The theory of the collective unconscious came from Carl Jung, a Swiss psychoanalyst. This collective unconscious contained symbols and feelings that had a common association among all humans. Artists like Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky and William de Kooning, included such symbols within their paintings to create a psychological effect on the viewers.
Male and Female, by Jackson Pollock showcases this concept. Pollock included symbols inspired by Southwestern Native American art. Native American’s were believed to be more in touch with the collective unconscious. Take a moment to look at this work of art and take note of it’s effect on you.
Jackson Pollock Male and Female 1942 (240 Kb); Oil on canvas, 73 1/4 x 49 in; Philadelphia Museum of Art