Consider the painting as a whole. What emotions, if any, does it immediately evoke?
Pollock was well-known for his ability to convey thoughts, ideas, and feelings through his unique style and techniques. This painting utilizes color, movement, and rhythm, all of which may evoke certain emotions in the viewer. Try to name your emotions—come up with a list of five descriptive words and write them in your notebook.
Take some time to sketch the composition, focusing on the shapes. What do you notice about the interconnectedness of the forms?
The organization of the lines and shapes together suggest representational forms, though it is difficult to discern exactly what is shown. How did you decide which parts to focus on in your drawing?
Do you see any identifiable shapes in Pollock’s Composition with Masked Forms?
Unlike Pollock’s famous drip paintings which were completely abstract, Composition with Masked Forms features some recognizable shapes. As indicated by the title, some of the forms composed by Pollock in this work seem to have been inspired by masks, particularly those from the Inuit and Tlingit cultures. With today's understanding of racial bias and white privilege, Pollock's use of imagery from a culture other than his own is something to consider as you look at this work and think about its meaning. What questions are surfacing for you?
Consider the texture of the paint.
Many areas of Composition with Masked Forms feature large clumps of paint. Some art reviewers have described these textured areas as demonstrating Pollock’s “force” and “ability” when creating this work, and that they help “propel the energy” of the piece. Do you agree with this statement? How do the different textures of paint affect your thoughts about the work?