The New Pollock 


Sixty years after Jackson Pollock discovered he could make art by splattering paint from a can, an innovative new way to apply paint to canvas has  the makings of taking "drip painting" to the next level.


Joe Kotas, a self-taught painter, who has been throwing, squirting, and scraping  paint for over twenty years seems destined to be the Pollock “heir apparent” with his "pendulum painting."


What Kotas did was to put a bottle of acrylic paint on a string above a canvas stretched on the floor.  With a flick of the wrist, a painting was born and a new art movement created.


 “Why not let gravity and motion, fluid and viscosity make the painting for me?” asks Kotas.  Since 2007, he has been documenting his pendulum method, the videos of which are artworks in and of themselves.


This “hands off” approach is nothing new for the artist.  The idea of finishing a painting in a flourish has long been a bastion of his repertoire.  “A good painting,” he says, “should not have any evidence of awkwardness or human infallibility.”  Consider his “Rorschach and Awe” series of the early 2000s. These paintings are testament to the fact that a work can be finished with a final “coup de grace,” a concluding exploding cigar of paint which has the ability to make or break the painting.


The pendulum painting, like Pollock's drips, has broken the field of abstract painting wide open.  As a result, you’ll look at abstract art differently: before and after Kotas.


Ronald McJagger

Chicago, 2008



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