Jackson Pollock´s No 1, 1949. picture by Myriam B. Mahiques
In September 1999, Ivar Peterson, from the Mathematical Association of America, published an article about Jackson Pollock and the fractal patterns of his paintings of swirling drips. Pollock´s dripping technique was developed in the late 1940 and early 1950. It was an immediate success. Apart from this innovation, the relationship artist-canvas was different: now, the canvas were spread on the floor, the artist was looking from above, he could walk around, over it. The morphological pattern was an aparent chaos.
But Physicist Richard P. Taylor of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who was also trained as an artist, scanned Blue Poles, Number 11, 1952 with a computer, to analyze the color schemes and trajectories. The researchers discovered that Pollock's patterns had fractals characteristics. It means autosimilarity: parts of the painting would have similar (because it´s not a perfect fractal) fractal dimension than the whole painting.
I´ve read Peterson´s article many years ago, but never had the opportunity to test it myself. Two days ago, I went to Arata Isozaki´s MOCA museum in Los Angeles, and had the good chance to watch Pollock´s No1, 1949 and even take a picture, (without flash).
I converted the jpg file in a binary file in order to measure the fractal Dimension, with ImageJ, and these were the astonishing results, for the whole painting plus two selected random details: