Don Pollack

Inventory | CV | Installation Images 

Pollack's work explores the relationship between personal and collective mythologies and the living surfaces of the canvas, revealing an interest in the ways in which painting contributes to the construction of identity. The images are a result of a continued process of considering these issues and trying to understand the nature of representation. From this perspective, he explores the way painting can simultaneously give reference to impermanence and the shifting visions of photography and the transience of a moment. In examining the discourse between social constructs and the art of painting, Pollack relies on nineteenth-century photographs as paradigms of memory and the passage of time. This work has also led him to investigate the role of “museums” in this process. The creation and display of painted documents, maps, signs, and portraits have also been included in recent exhibition-installations. In these works, style categories have been replaced with projects that allow for any image to be rendered in paint resulting in the perception of "styles" as a form of public language. Conceptually, his works proceed from the premise that all vision is historic and constructed.

"Far from Home" June 2011, Marcia Wood Gallery

Believing that what defines us as Americans is a mythic journey that includes the movement west and into the landscape, Pollack undertook a personal epic journey to inform his current artwork with the layers of meaning derived from a prolonged and intimate immersion into the landscape. The paintings in the upcoming exhibition, "Far From Home", result from a 2,000 mile "reverse journey"that the Chicago based artist made on bicycle in 2010 from Springfield, Ill to Washington, D.C. Opposing the historical notion of moving westward in the expansion of America, Pollack chose instead a route that was more likely to take him to scenes of urban congestion rather than a wilderness landscape. The ride was a continuation of "The Lincoln Project" wherein the artist retraced the historic journey Abraham Lincoln took by train from his home in Springfield, Ill to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration in 1861. "The Lincoln Project" was exhibited during the Lincoln Bicentennial at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill in February 2009 and the Union League Club in Chicago in July 2009. In 2009 Pollack was awarded the Order of Lincoln, the highest honor given by the state of Illinois.

Pollack writes that while riding he came to experience 'time' as a somewhat measured visual perception. Typography and numbers are harbingers of maps, GPS coordinates, cell phones and compasses. A tree on the horizon 15 miles away might have been seen as an hour and the bend in the road ahead could have been 10 minutes. "Time and space constantly reminded me that being a casual observer was illusory. Travel is like reading a book, and movement on a bicycle is like watching a movie. The dilemma this poses reveals a paradoxical relationship between the landscape and the methods used to record it. Lines and fades in painting suggest skips and distortions in film. Sometimes an image appears cloudy and clear simultaneously. Subjects are inspired from specific and imagined locations." Ultimately the artist is aware that while painting what makes nature potent, mysterious, and ultimately untamable, he is at the same time manifesting an awareness that this view of nature is a product of his own mythology