“I first saw Tom Polo’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Primavera in 2017,” Sydney gallerist Roslyn Oxley told writer and curator Micheal Do in the current issue of Art Collector. “Tom postered the wall with these oversized crumpled masks that referenced the Bocca della Verità (The Mouth of Truth). Each mask had such strange and evocative expressions. There was such freedom and theatre to those works. Tom has a real freshness and that made an impact on me.”
Oxley’s eponymous Sydney gallery recently announced its representation of the Sydney-based artist, who is also represented in Melbourne by STATION.
Polo uses painting and painted environments to explore how conversation, doubt and gesture are embodied acts of portraiture. Frequently incorporating text and figurative elements, his works draw upon acute observations, absurdist encounters, personal histories and imagined personas. Read more about Polo’s practice in the current issue of Art Collector, in newsagencies across Australia and New Zealand now.
Polo’s first exhibition with Roslyn Oxley9 opens Thursday 18 April and runs until 11 May 2019. I still thought you were looking explores the emotional and performative relationships between people within social, theatrical and psychological spaces. These performing figures – manoeuvring or looking elsewhere – largely mirror the scale of the viewer, while each painting’s position encourages the audience to choreograph their own immersive experience within the space.
Polo is also currently showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales at The National 2019: New Australian Art – the second of three biennial surveys presenting the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian practice – until July 23.
Image: Tom Polo, see you see through (totally transparent), 2018. Acrylic, Flashe and acrylic spray on canvas, 182 x 138cm. Courtesy: the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. Photo: Jessica Maurer.