From the WARM Coffee session: by Debra Ripp
Polly Norman refines her vision by shooting through the kind of glass blocks which have traditionally functioned as a standard of business architecture, the result are called “Pollygraphs”. These “Pollygraphs” are her most recent work and are featured in her 25 year retrospective at the Minneapolis Photo Center. The exhibition is complemented by a dazzling book of photographs titled “Dances Through Glass”. The book is available from Polly at her website: http://www.pollynormanart.com/book
Polly’s six year study of drawing and painting at Atelier
Studio Program of Fine Art coincided with her photographic studies of classical dancers. Norman used various photographic filters for those dance works. She then discovered the beauty inherent in glass block by accident at a health club in Chicago. This discovery led her to pure abstractions and floral assemblages shot through Pennsylvania glass block. The glass blocks affect forms both to alter and abstract objects in a lyrical mode.
This might suggest an easy transition but this is not the case. There were plenty of challenges both in the darkroom and in the field. Polly attributes some of the success to her vision to her experience with bi-polar disorder. The stigma around bi-polar disorder still exists and Norman is now a mental health advocate through NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness). Part of NAMI’s mission us to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.