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Polar Stampede
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Polar Stampede (1960) and the rest of the Umber Paintings marks Lee Krasner’s freedom from her parasitic relationship with her husband, Jackson Pollock 

Before Pollock's death, he leeched Krasner's artistic ambition and replaced it with expectations of being the perfect Mrs. Jackson Pollock (total bullshit if you ask me). To put it in “Mean Girls” terms, Lee Krasner was Regina George and Pollock was Cady Heron. She basically invented Jackson Pollock and he repaid her by stealing Aaron Samuels (aka her artistic gumption) and not inviting her to his party (the group of Abstract Expressionists). Not until Pollock died in a car accident was Krasner free from his shenanigans thus allowing her to be an artist in her own right beginning with the Umber Paintings. Such was the genesis of Lee Krasner - feminist artist/icon/creator of bitchin’ paintings like this one.

Polar Stampede was created a few years after the deaths of Jackson Pollock and Krasner’s mother and therefore is jam-packed with feelings. She had terrible insomnia and painted by lamp-light. This made her vision of the colors she was using unclear, so she abandoned the use of vibrant color resorting to browns, whites and greys which suited her mood way better anyway.

Though she is one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century on her own, you can’t really talk about her work without looking at Pollock’s as well (the patriarchy strikes again).  Not that Krasner was copying ,Pollock but he was for sure an inspiration of hers. It has been said that, “Pollock… is in these paintings, but they are too distinctive, too diverse and too personal to be described simply in relation to him.” Polar Stampede has that fierce assaulting-the-canvas vibe that Pollock’s work had as well. The difference is that Krasner had a control over her painting that Pollock lacked. The size of Polar Stampede too alludes to Pollock’s work. When you stand in front of it, the painting seems to tuck you into a warm embrace of emotion and cradle you like a baby. Basically Lee Krasner was the phoenix that rose from the ashes of her late husband, Jackson Pollock.

 

 


 

Sources

Sources

  1. Rose, Barbara. “Lee Krasner: A Retrospective.” New York: The Museum of Modern Art. 1983. pg. 122
  2. Kimmelman, Michael. “Art in Review.” Arts (The New York Times), January 15, 1993.