The Physics Behind Jackson Pollock’s Paintings

Most are familiar with the work of Jackson Pollock, if only from having seen the film about his life starring Ed Harris. Pollock was well known for splattering and throwing paint on canvas, revolutionizing a form of abstract expressionism.

Although many might argue that there was no method to Pollock’s madness, others suggest that he used the very laws of physics themselves to create his masterpieces.

Pollock was no physicist, but now real physicists are teaming up to use the laws of fluid dynamics for creating an experimental technique that might uncover how Pollock produced the particular features indicative of his art.

Researchers based this new technique on controlling how paint drippings fall onto a canvas by mimicking Pollock’s methods, dripping paint at different speeds and from different heights. Pollock often poured paint directly from

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