Pollack's work explores the relationship between personal and collective mythologies and the living surfaces of the canvas, revealing an interest in the ways in which painting contributes to the construction of identity. The images are a result of a continued process of considering these issues and trying to understand the nature of representation. From this perspective, he explores the way painting can simultaneously give reference to impermanence and the shifting visions of photography and the transience of a moment. In examining the discourse between social constructs and the art of painting, Pollack relies on nineteenth-century photographs as paradigms of memory and the passage of time. This work has also led him to investigate the role of “museums” in this process. The creation and display of painted documents, maps, signs, and portraits have also been included in recent exhibition-installations. In these works, style categories have been replaced with projects that allow for any image to be rendered in paint resulting in the perception of "styles" as a form of public language. Conceptually, his works proceed from the premise that all vision is historic and constructed.
Believing that what defines us as Americans is a mythic journey that includes the movement west and into the landscape, Pollack undertook a personal epic journey to inform his latest artwork shown with the gallery for his solo show Far From Home, with the layers of meaning derived from a prolonged and intimate immersion into the landscape. The paintings in the exhibition resulted from a 2,000 mile "reverse journey"that the Chicago based artist made on bicycle in 2010 from Springfield, Ill to Washington, D.C. Opposing the historical notion of moving westward in the expansion of America, Pollack chose instead a route that was more likely to take him to scenes of urban congestion rather than a wilderness landscape.
“My work comes from journeys and travel. Moving through the landscape, the presence of history saturates the experience. Painting oil on canvas, performance, and installations,—I am interested in experiencing the landscape,—past traumas and revelations eventually speak to the violent conflict on perspectives of the land, the spaces we inhabit, inextricably forget that we are a part of, we conquer, and we picture. Through a physical journey, the measures of my work attempts to make a space for knowing the North American landscape.”
— Don Pollack