Saturday, February 25, 2012

Polly Norman - Photographer - Painter

"Mirrored Masks, Nose to Nose" Hand-colored gelatin silver print 28"X56"
Polly Norman

Name:  Polly Norman
City/State:  Minneapolis, Minnesota


Born and raised in a dutch colonial on Minneha-ha Parkway in Minneapolis, Polly Sandvik Norman
was surrounded and nurtured by her artistic family.  She attended Minneapolis public schools and took 
private painting classes and multi-media art classes at the Walker Art Center.

Her dad was a fiction writer, mom a tailor/seamstress, both brothers were/are musicians, one of them
also a visual artist and her sister, with a passion for science became a doctor.

Norman is a former Registered Nurse specializing in Newborn Intensive Care who
began her photography career as a volunteer PR photographer/writer for the schools both of her sons
attended:  Our Lady of Grace in Edina and St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights.

Admiring her photography, parents whose children were students in the schools 
began hiring her for portrait/child/family photography.  She attended various photography seminars and
her photography business flourished.

Out of that career, Norman discovered a growing desire to again create fine art so she enrolled in classes at the Atelier Studio School of Fine Art in Minneapolis.  There she studied drawing and painting from 1998-2004 and followed that education with a two-year mentorship with Maria Santiago, Artist and Instructor, College of Visual Arts, St. Paul. 

Norman’s work has been shown and published nationally and internationally. She has won many awards for her work in juried shows and her work has been purchased for permanent corporate and museum collections.  
She recently was chosen as a Finalist for The Bush Artist Fellowships and also was a finalist for the McKnight Foundation Photography Fellowship.  
See Resume at for listings of awards, publications, exhibitions, collections, etc.

"Prehistoric Ride Through a Lavender Sky" Hand-colored gelatin silver print 30"X32"

Tell me about your work? 

Abstract hand-painted photographs/grams made by a process of my own invention. 
I shoot scenes or studio set-ups through various types of Pennsylvania glass block in black and white.  Images are then enhanced with an additional layer of photo grams or overlays and/or hand-painted in oils.

These images have been affectionately called, pollygraphs.
What are you currently working on?

Large abstract hand-painted florals.

How is this different from past projects?
The bulk of my work is of formal composition/non-representational, so the florals are a departure from this.  However, the way I capture botanical subjects renders abstract shapes within the compositions.

"Jungle Jyms" Pigment ink print 28"X52"

"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? 
Their own story. 
This is why I make non-representational symbolic art.  

It stimulates the subconscious and allows for individual interpretation.  

I hear such a great variety of stories about what is seen in my works.  This is very exciting to me-to stimulate the imagination!!!

"Smile Down" Pigment ink print 30"X30"

What statement do you hope to make?
That imagination is limitless…

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

"Talent is nothing without hard work and persistence."

Artist in studio.  Photo by Todd Buchanan

Tell me about your work space and your creative process. 

Work space is a studio above our garage.  

I gather every kind of Pittsburgh-Corning glass block I can find to shoot through.  There are many styles, however "Decora" is the one I use most because it has a simple deep design and nicely warps objects placed behind it.  It also allows more light to come through than the other designs.  Other blocks are also fun to use because of the variety in pattern.

For larger, multi-block pieces, a carpenter fused together many blocks and adhered them to a wheeled base so I could easily move it around the studio.

Before he constructed this for me, I would stack loose blocks and in the middle of a project (or in the middle of the night!) they would come crashing down!  Then I'd have to pick them up and start all over again!  So frustrating!

Creative process is using my wild imagination to create fictional scenarios, sort of like "frozen stories"

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy? 

The classy, gorgeous carved and painted plexiglass works of Dick Brewer and Josie Lewis's intricately layered papers under resin

"Garden Party" Hand-colored gelatin silver print 30"X64"

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

Some local galleries, like Gallery 13 - a large space with an eclectic mix of some very unusual beautiful abstract works. Gallery 360 and the Grand Hand Gallery -both fabulous intimate galleries with the best Minnesota artists and craftsmen/women.  Mpls Photo Center for an expansive collection of photography. Painting, sculpture and multi media at Nina Bliese Gallery and of course the art crawls like Art-A-Whirl and the St. Paul Art 

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

Polly Norman - Photo by Megan Norman

Do you have any exhibits to promote? 

"Lush Floral Refractions" by Polly Norman
 March 13-May 4, 2012. Nina Bliese Gallery
 Opening Party/Reception 5-8 PM Thursday, March 15th with Artist Talk at 6:30PM
 Gallery Hours:  Tuesday-Friday, Noon-5PM and by Appointment
 225 South Sixth Street, Suite 100 (Street Level) Minneapolis, MN 55402

"In the Garden" Floral Works by Polly Norman
 September 4- October 31, 2012. The Woman's Club of Minneapolis
 Opening:  Thursday, September 6, 5:30-7:00PM 
 410 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis, Mn 55403

"Photo Abstraction in Pollygraphs"(WT)
 Abstract Hand-painted Glass Block Photography
 Date: To Be Announced, Mpls Photo Center
 2400 North Second Street, Minneapolis, MN 55411

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

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