Why limit yourself to photography or painting when you can do both? In one piece, even? The signature style of abstract artist Polly Norman, whose Prehistoric Ride Through a Lavender Sky is our Work of the Week, combines both those media to yield a dreamy, kinetic feel.
The Minneapolis-born artist shoots high-resolution black and white images through glass blocks, then adds photograms during the development process and, for the final layer, hand-paints the prints. The warping of the blocks she uses lends the finished pieces “refraction, reflection and shadowing [that] are more interesting to me than real objects or naturally occurring scenarios. The pieces have an ‘underwater’ appearance that I think is fetching.”
The way Norman came across her unique style fits her background of someone who has been passionate about art from a young age, honing her eye over the years even as she pursued a career as an RN and raised two sons. Recalls the artist, her eureka moment hit her while working out at a Chicago athletic club, where “they have a pool and jacuzzi area in the lower level that has a large wall of Pennsyvania glass block. Relaxing in the hot water of the jacuzzi, I looked up at the wall and noticed these elegant, curvy designs showing through them. The hotel was attached to the club, so I ran up in my swimsuit to my hotel room, grabbed my camera, returned to the pool area and started shooting away!”
Since that initial discovery Norman’s work has appeared in a variety of exhibitions, the latest of which, a solo show at The Gallery at Fox Tax in Minneapolis, is having its opening reception tomorrow, October 20th. The exhibit, Line Dance: Glass Block Photography by Polly Norman, will be open through December 7th.
For more information on the artist and her work, visit www.pollynormanart.com.