It’s easy to see why Pollock comes to mind. She was still mourning, after all, and the all-over splatters tucked beneath brushstrokes are hard to miss. But as Anfam points out, they tend to “exorcise Pollock’s ghost” more than resuscitate him. “Pollock’s influence is powerfully manifest in the umbers, but their sense of touch and facture is nevertheless highly distinctive—at once feathery, slashing, rhythmically judicious, thicket-like and yet strangely eloquent. In gendered terms, they synthesize ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ polarities,” he says.
He also points out the importance of Krasner’s ubiquitous arcs (in contrast to Pollock’s diagonals). “She makes the arc the generative structure of the whole series, as never before,” he continues. “Crudely stated, diagonals lead out and away and across, while ovoids are self-contained, and the arcs synthesize both directions, suggesting a union of centrifugal and centripetal forces, inside and outside.”
Standing before these daunting works, they do seem to both implode and explode. But it’s the sepia tones that are particularly intriguing. While there is nothing explicitly feminine about these works—if we’re talking gender stereotypes, their gestural brushwork is more aligned with the machismo of action painting—the palette is strangely womanly. These are the browns and buffs of makeup, hair dye, bleach, and pantyhose—tools a woman uses to conceal her natural state. But in these paintings, Krasner seems voluntarily raw and exposed, as though she’s magically turned her surfaces inside out and liberated herself from within.