To honour the centennial of the world famous impressionist painter Jackson Pollock’s birth, we take a look at the importance of his work.

In a well-known 1952 article in ARTnews, the art critic Harold Rosenberg coined the term “action painting,” and wrote that “what was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event… The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation from value — political, aesthetic, moral.” Many people assumed that he had modeled his “action painter” paradigm on Jackson Pollock.

In 1945, Pollock began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor, and he developed what was later called his “drip” technique, turning to synthetic resin-based paints, which at that time, was a novel medium. By defying the convention of painting on an upright surface, he added a new dimension by being able to view and apply paint to his canvases from all directions.

London-based artist Swarez cites Pollock as his main influence, which is easy to see. He explains how: “One of the joys of drip painting is to take apparent chaos and randomness and turn it into a spectacle and triumph of colour and form. If you can get that, complete with an obsessive attention to detail then you’re going to produce something truly inspiring”.

Someone who uses a similar technique to Pollock is British artist Paul Kenton. Like the impressionist painters before him, Kenton strives for his paintings to create a mood, evoke a feeling or reflect a myriad of emotions; with free shapes, mixed media, dripped lines and colour. Kenton’s technique is extremely free and unplanned, forgoing sketching and planning in favour of the immediacy of diving into the heart of the painting.