How useful are the terms ;realism; and ;abstraction; in acco

In order to examine this question the words realism and abstraction must be defined. How useful are the terms of'realism' and'abstraction'?'Realism a word which is used meaning fidelity to life, but more usefully confined to the 19th century movement in painting, a word that is also used in conjunction with the reaction against Romanticism (Read,1994, p299). Abstraction a term often used for not representing things pictorially it is also art that does not imitate or directly represents external reality, non-figurative art or not representational though ultimately derived form reality (Read, 1994, p7). The two pieces of works to be looked at are: Stenographic Figure c.1942 and Full Fathom five c. 1947 both are good examples of the rapid changes in Pollock's work. By the mid 1940s Jackson Pollock was painting in a completely abstract manner, and the drip and splash style for which he is best known emerged with some abruptness in 1947. Instead of using the traditional easel he
put his canvas to the floor or the wall and poured and dripped his paint from a
can; instead of using brushes he worked with sticks, trowels or knives, sometimes to add more texture to his painting he would mix sand, broken glass or other foreign matter into the paint.
The term realism is particularly helpfully in determining the nature of Pollocks work. We see his reaction to romanticism he combines the oppositions of figure/non-figure and vertical/horizontal. He accomplishes this through the use of indistinct figuration on top of the linear web of the all-over drip paintings. Pollock’s use of the opposition of figuration/non-figuration is defined by Krauss and Fried (although their interpretations differ in content). The second opposition that of the vertical/horizontal emerges upon close examination of the canvas and the materials used. Although the use of planar opposition hearkens back to Mondrian.


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