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Maria S. LaBrage, IDSVA





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Jackson Pollock has long been heralded as the quintessential Modernist. His work marks the pinnacle of the Golden Age of Modernism and the culmination of a long experiment with modernist ideas elaborated by theorists such as Croce, Fry, Bell, Greenberg and others. Within the predominant concerns of Modernism (including intuition, imagination, and abstraction), Pollock is the paragon of the modernist solitary genius. However, this view of Pollock depends primarily on analysis of his drip paintings and disregards the development of processes inherent within them. This enframing critique of Pollock overlooks the presence of symbol, allegory, and ritual upon which Pollock’s work depends. It neglects to account for the fact that far from pure abstractions, Pollock’s work crosses the boundaries of abstraction in order to reinstitute mimêsis in art.

My analysis of Pollock’s work views his methodology as a recuperation of indigenous American aesthetics through mimêsis. I claim that through the forms, modes, and functions of mimêsis Pollock’s work transgresses modernity’s claims to pure form in favor of an inquiry into the forms and techniques of indigenous American aesthetics, thereby reintroducing notions of ritual and mythos in contemporary art.


Art Practice | Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Indigenous Studies


Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts


Portland ME

Recuperating Mimêsis: Jackson Pollock and the Indigenous American Spirit



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