Allover Composition


“…all hierarchical distinctions have been, literally, exhausted and invalidated.”—Clement Greenberg

The term “all-over picture” was first used by art critic Greenberg in his 1948 essay “The Crisis of the Easel Picture” to describe the emergence of “decentralized” compositions like Jackson Pollock’s tangled layers of dripped paint or Mark Tobey’s dense calligraphies that extend to the edge of a canvas. Works in this category lack a dominant focal point due to the uniform treatment of the entire surface. Contemporary artists like Mark Bradford and Dan Colen have modernized this technique by covering every inch of traditional support mediums with unorthodox materials like discarded ephemera or chewing gum.