The audio guide for this show was a good introduction if, like me, you didn’t really know anything about Abstract Expressionism as a movement. It quoted Jackson Pollock as saying:
‘I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them.’
One of the most interesting things I learned was how controlled the apparently random methods that Pollock and others used actually were. I think I had always imagined this was so; the slightest experience of trying supposedly ‘random’ approaches soon tells you that they aren’t as simple as they look.
I enjoyed discovering the artists I didn’t know before, like Clyfford Still whose massive coloured canvases, like the one below, filled one of the rooms. Wolfgang Tillmans talked of the ‘co-existence of chance and control’ in these works. Their immersive quality is related to that of Rothko’s works but these are less serene and more vigorous.
I had also not been aware of Robert Motherwell, whose Elegy to the Spanish Republic, no 26 filled the wall of one gallery.