After 1952, dripping and pouring paint were no longer the primary means of expression for Pollock. The totemic forms at the left and right in Easter and the Totem reflect his renewed interest in using a brush to paint quasi-figurative images. The bright colors and expansive spaces anchored by large swaths of black suggest the influence of Henri Matisse, who was the subject of a large retrospective that Pollock would have seen at MoMA the previous year. The push and pull between abstraction and figuration is a thread that weaves through Pollock’s entire career. As he said, in the last year of his life, “I’m very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time.”
Gallery label from Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934-1954, November 22, 2015–May 1, 2016.