Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Polly Purvis' Ruins & Light

When I first saw Polly's work, I was struck by the fluidity with which she moves between media. She works primarily in photography and sculptural metalwork, bridging both with compelling imagery of figures and gestures.

At the point when she chose the derelict shed site for her installation, I saw how this interest in portraying human evidence dovetailed with her affinity for the aesthetic of archaeology. The work takes place at a portion of the park at which people worked and lived. A metal clad shed has collapsed in upon itself and creates a shallow basin flanked by wooden structures that suggest a clothesline could have stood to one side. Walking the trail a bit further, the other side of the clothesline stands above a neat pile of composite roofing shingle scraps.

With Polly's installation, the outlines of the space and its contours are revealed through careful cleaning and deliberate mark-making. The bones of the building surface with her removal of composted leaves and trash. Neon green, yellow and pink colored translucent plexiglas rods sprout from the ruined shed, drawing in the ambient light and luring our viewing eye along the walk toward the roofing shingles. Portions of the siding have been reconfigured into a graceful female form at one corner of the site. Pink plexiglas sheet and rod accent existing architectural details: a series of rungs, the triangular span of the clothesline support. And in the pile of roofing material we are given a glimpse into the possibility of the former inhabitants: photographs of dancing ghosts are tucked shyly into the mound. Shadows of human interaction with place abound in this work.

Polly's statement reads: "My sculptural constructions are inspired by human metaphor and my ongoing engagement with shadow and light. Themes of culture and history, ecology and memory are present in my work, as is a strong connection to landscape and the human figure.

Combining fabricated and natural materials with my photographs is at the core of my constructions. The transformation resulting from this interplay of silver emulsion and chemistry of photography, with metal and translucent materials is magical alchemy. My goal is to convey the spirit and essence of my subjects. They become after all, a celebration of the creative act.

Two sculptures rise out of the worker cottage ruins on the Park’s upper trail; both works incorporate artifacts found at the site with contemporary, ‘manufactured’ materials, drawing attention to the contrast of natural and fabricated, past and present."


Post a Comment

<< Home