Don Pollack - American Gothic: Past Imperfect


PRESS RELEASE: Don Pollack - American Gothic: Past Imperfect, Apr  6 - May 13, 2006


Pollack’s landscape paintings explore 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. Inspired by notions of the American Gothic, his work investigates the darker side of existence. Pollack writes, “In order for something to be real, it must have a shadow side to its being; that applies to the representation as well.” Particularly poignant today, Pollack’s paintings revisit the crises of intimacy and the need for histories that were evident during the American Civil War. 

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. Accordingly, the surfaces of the paintings manifest the technical problems of early photography. For Pollack, the “overexposed burn” or the “improperly fixed” images become a spontaneous act of abstract painting, while the scratches and distemper reflect the decay and imperfections that time renders on their surfaces.

In a recent exhibition at the University of Rhode Island, Don Pollack showed a series of paintings that contemplated post-Civil War re-enactment photography. He regularly exhibits in Chicago, Atlanta and Canada, and his paintings can be found in numerous public and private collections across the United States.