chapter  9
10 Pages

Lee Krasner: Mrs Jackson Pollock

A photograph taken in Jackson Pollock’s studio during the 1950s shows the absorbed artist standing upright looking at his work, whilst, sitting at his feet, Lee Krasner (Mrs Jackson Pollock) looks up at him (Naifeh and White Smith, 1992, p. 156). One might use such an image in conjunction with others as a means to suggest some of the difficulties inherent in trying to find a context in which to look at Krasner’s work since her identity as a woman producer has been variously confused with or compromised by her identity as Mrs Jackson Pollock. One might further site such an image alongside others done by women producers dealing with imagery traditionally encoded as female; works by Mary Cassatt for example, particularly those on the theme of mother and child, and Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document (1974-9), which is an investigation into the social construction of both mother and child. While matters of gender are an overt issue in the subject-matter of Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) and Mary Kelly, in the case of Pollock and Krasner gender would seem to be harder to read in works which are both abstract and to do with process.