It’s springtime and the weather certainly isn’t easy. With heavy snow and blizzards blanketing the UK over the weekend, this week let’s look at Jackson Pollock’s Summertime: Number 9A for respite and hope of sunnier climes ahead.

Jackson Pollock, 'Summertime: Number 9A' 1948

Jackson Pollock
Summertime: Number 9A 1948
Oil, enamel and house paint on canvas
support: 848 x 5550 mm frame: 833 x 5809 x 72 mm
Purchased 1988© Pollock - Krasner Foundation, Inc.

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Summertime: Number 9A was painted by Jackson Pollock in 1948 after he left New York City in 1945 to settle in Springs on Long Island. His studio here was a converted barn without heating or lighting. You can almost imagine the East Hampton air, a heady mix of coolness and salt blown in from the Atlantic that may have influenced his dripping and pouring of oil paint, enamel paint and commercial paint directly onto canvas in this work.

Pollock’s aim to work directly from his unconscious led to this radical process of laying a canvas flat on the ground to lunge over provocatively outdoors, sometimes using a brush or stick, wearing paint splattered boots and a furrowed brow. Using the canvas as a field of action, intricate layers of built-up lines and colour map his dance-like movements. Daubs of black paint spindle-off and intermingle with swathes of blue-grey, pockets of bright yellow and patches of rusty red paint.

The critic Harold Rosenberg argued that the generation of artists during Pollock’s time redfined the canvas as:

an arena in which to act…What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event.

On display at the Tate Modern in the exhibition A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance, view this artwork – laid flat on the ground just as Pollock painted it – before the show ends on 1 April.