Number One of 1948 by Jackson Pollock – my comment

Many months ago,  I chose this painting of Jackson Pollock as my favourite as to me it represented Nature. I had promised to give my interpretation but had not. So here it is. Being no art critic, please bear with me for when my interpretation does not satisfy you. Any way, it shouldn’t and only your own interpretation should suffice. So analyse away.

I see in this image a view of nature as she is most times – not picture perfect but banal, full of weeds, thorns, scrub recovering after being disturbed by man. But always from the depths, you can hear just out of sight the birds going about their business. On the floor, the mice come out at night, and the snakes. And the insects and the small animals.

Marcus Aurelius, emperor-philosopher

The bush holds this poignant promise of a surprise for the young boy who explores it. This is nature as I see it in the outskirts of humanity – transformed yes but undefeated, essentially unchanged. Life goes on – there is brutal competition and perfect cooperation. There are the gawky bones of a frog overtaken by marauding ants and the delicately crafted nest of the tailor-bird. There is the banal cawing of crows and the delicate duet of Grey Francolins. There is the stink of the nala running alongside and the delicate perfume of the mogra flower. All these are there for people to see – but man is blind. He sees the green tangle but not the life, the intensity, the intricacy.

To quote my friend Shyamal, paraphrasing Marcus Aurelius, the great philosopher and Roman Emperor

“Observe how things are connected and how things act together. See the beautiful web.”

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5 Comments on “Number One of 1948 by Jackson Pollock – my comment”


  1. Using the prompt of “nature” I see much the same as you do and you write it so beautifully. It would be interesting to meditate on this and other Pollock paintings using different prompts such as “humanity” or something as simple as “the ocean” – if you can call the ocean simple. I see a lot of the ocean in this painting… the possibilities are endless, I suppose.
    As for your idea of representing nature, your interpretation is very satisfying! I enjoyed this post very much!


  2. Sure! Come on along! 🙂 Michener is one of my favorite authors. I remember well the chapter “The Inhabitants”. I was in awe. But I’ve always looked at his books as a complete package – never separated one aspect from the others like the nature writing. Wonderful post!


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