Monday, August 13, 2012
Gary Polonsky Interview
What are the steps involved in creating one of your pieces, what comes first, next, last? Can you share about your technique? Or is it a secret?
It starts, really, at the end. You see something that catches your interest, a particular scene, an object, a person, or for this series, common objects, snack foods, bottles of condiments, and the like. After I have a specific object in mind, the Heinz Ketchup bottle for example, I figure out how to build the physical 3D object, which essentially becomes my canvas. Some pieces require quite a bit of engineering to figure out how to build the object so that it will last. After all the physical details are finished, the label (also acrylic on canvas) is added on to the painted object. There are no special techniques, just experimenting with different materials. The final painting whether it's the object, and or the canvas, is acrylic media.
Do you work from life, or some other point of reference?
For this series I work from the actual objects. Although I'm already pretty familiar with the foods in the series, I still photograph them in various layouts and positions to determine the final composition. Of course, the most difficult issue at this point is to resist eating the subject matter. Do you work in more than one medium? How do the two (or more) influence each other?My primary medium is acrylic paint. But my "canvases" are made up from various materials: wire mesh, balsa wood, Styrofoam, and yes, canvas too. As I experiment with the different materials, the pro's and con's of working with that material become apparent, as far as what you are trying to do for that piece. What works for one piece may not work for another, but it all contributes to a repertoire of possibilities.
Why food, why prepared food? What excites you about it, what is the attraction? Do you feel a kinship with the still life genre?
I've found, over the years, that I'm painting common, everyday objects and scenes. The current series is derived from the foods (sweets mostly, so far), that have a certain nostalgic quality. In this series the various challenges regarding the engineering, and construction of the canvas, the contrasting materials, the textures and shapes, they all contribute to the enjoyment of seeing the final piece up on the wall. I feel a "kinship" to the act of painting itself. It allows an artist the opportunity to see the world, and respond to it, in a totally unique and personal way, regardless of the subject matter.
The pieces I’ve seen are larger than life.
How is scale important?
Scale is very important in my work. The increased scale, especially of objects we know to be smaller, forces (involuntarily, of course) the viewer to re-examine what they are looking at. There is a heightened focus, a closer look at details that, on the actual object, might be ignored. And, in some cases, the details become the most exciting part of the viewing.
How often do you start a new work? What keeps you working?
I always have at least two, or three pieces that I'm working on at at time. When one piece becomes too tedious, I have another project to go to. The small print on some package labels can be very tiresome, and can take many days to paint, The multiple projects keeps me involved most of the time.
What would you like your viewers to take away from their encounter with your artwork?
Hopefully the viewer will simply enjoy the experience. And if, in some small way we create a different way to see things, in a more focused way, and with more compassionate eyes, then maybe, as our consciousness expands to take in other views, we can make this world a better, more peaceful place for all of us.
Gary Polonsky's exhibition begins September 4, 2012.