InterJournal Complex Systems, 511
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [511]
Submission Date: 20423
The Visual Complexity of Pollock's Dripped Fractals
Author(s): Richard Taylor

Subject(s): CX.08, CX.41

Category: Brief Article


It is well known that natural processes and computer mathematics can generate fractals (patterns that repeat at many magnifications). Our recent fractal analysis of Jackson Pollock’s dripped paintings demonstrates that humans can also generate fractals. This discovery has renewed interest in the human visual system's response to fractals and, in particular, to the complexity generated by their repeating patterns. This complexity can be quantified using the fractal dimension D. We show that humans display a 'universal' aesthetic preference for a specific range of complexity (D = 1.3 to 1.5), regardless of whether the fractals are generated by nature’s processes, by mathematics, or by Pollock. Having revolutionized art of the Twentieth Century, Pollock’s work may be destined to have an even broader impact in the Twenty-first Century.

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