POLLY COOK

"Love has inspired poets, musicians, and artists throughout history. It’s the emotion that connects us with the sublime." | Polly Cook


Southern artist Polly Cook creates stunning mosaics of painted ceramic tile on wood panel inspired by themes of love and longing, hope and desire, celebrating our relationships with one another. Her work is narrative in nature, yet each piece suggests (rather than resolves) a story for the figures depicted. Cook draws and carves into large slabs of clay, often letting them break as they will; these random breaks in the images add to the psychological undertone of the work through their evocation of fragmentation and complexity. 


ARTIST STATEMENT

Love has inspired poets, musicians, and artists throughout history. It’s the emotion that connects us with the sublime. I am also inspired by the theme of love, and it is at the heart of all my artwork, along with the accompanying emotions of longing, hope, desire and joy. It’s not just romantic love that interests me, but also for fellow human beings and animals, and the deep ties that include us in the wider circle of humanity. My work is not to be taken as literal stories, but rather, they are emotional narratives, visual poetry. They are meant to be experienced as well as seen. My love of the Romantic poets such as Byron and Keats, and the Pre-Raphaelite artists took me to England to study when I was 16. There, I was also introduced to the German Realists of the 1920s, and these different movements were an influence on my style. Though my first love is clay - starting with a pottery class at the age of 10 in Nashville, Tennessee - for the past several years I’ve also been enjoying painting with oils and acrylics on canvas.


ARTIST BIO

EDUCATION
B.F.A., Ceramics and Sculpture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
La Sierra College, Loma Linda University, Riverside, CA
Portland School of Art, Portland, ME
Bracknell College, Bracknell, England 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2013
Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA

2011
Tafkaj Art Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland, Nuits des Bains
Union University, Jackson, TN

2010
Taylor’s Contemporanea, Hot Springs, AR

2007
Bennett Gallery, Nashville, TN

2003
Bennett Gallery, Nashville, TN
Blue Moon Gallery, Hot Springs, AR

2002
Duncan Miller Gallery, Washington, DC
Urban Artware, Winston-Salem, NC 

1999
DFN Gallery, New York, NY

1998
Local Color, Nashville, TN 1996 Nashville Arts Company, Nashville, TN

1995
Bennett Gallery, Knoxville, TN

1993
The Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA -- The Lowe Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

1992
Sandler Hudson Gallery, Atlanta, GA

1989
Sandler Hudson Gallery, Atlanta, GA

1986
Maple Hill Gallery, Portland, ME

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2011
Alumni Show, Brandstater Gallery, Riverside, CA

2010
Nashville Counts!, Rymer Gallery, Nashville, TN

2010
Party with Picassos, Women for the Arts, Texarkana Country Club, TX

2009
5 X 5 X (5), Target Gallery, Alexandria, VA

2008
TRAHC regional exhibition, Texarkana, TX

2006
TRAHC’s 18th annual juried Artshow, Texarkana, TX
Bennett Gallery, Nashville, TN
Bennett Gallery, Knoxville, TN

2003
Blue Moon Gallery, Hot Springs, AR

2000
DFN Gallery, New York, NY

1997
Southeastern Juried Exhibition, Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
National Painting Exhibition, The Painting Center, New York, NY
ARTstravaganza Exhibition, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN 

1995
The Red Clay Survey, Fourth Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL
Clay National, Zoller Gallery, Pennsylvania State University 

1994
Cheekwood Fine Arts Center, Nashville, TN

1993  
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Seventh Annual San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX 

1992
SPOTLIGHT ’92, American Craft Council South East Region, Richmond, VA

199
Feats of Clay, Lincoln, CA
Lill Street Gallery, Chicago, IL 

1990
American Craft Council Southeast Region, Kentuck Museum, Northport, AL

1988
Young Americans, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
G.H. Dalsheimer Gallery, Baltimore, MD
Small Works National, NOW Gallery, New York, NY 

1987
The Figurative Image, America House Gallery, Tenafly, NJ

1985
Spartanburg Arts Center, Spartanburg, SC
Clay National, Erie Art Museum

SELECTED PERMANENT & PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
Anastasia and Tony Brown
The Pepsi-Cola Company
Steiner-Liff Iron and Metal Co
J. Alexander’s Restaurant
Planned Parenthood
Embassy Suites, Orlando, Florida
MCA Records
Vanderbilt University
The Hyatt Regency, Rochester, NY
John Seigenthaler

AWARDS & HONORS
2006
Best of Show TRAHC’s 18th annual Juried Artshow

2005
Poster Artist for Jump, Jive, and Jam festival, Texarkana, TX
“One Voice” Olympic CD, MCA records
Cash Award, ARTstravaganza Exhibition, Hunter Museum of Art
Cash Award, Clay National
Merit Award, The Red Clay Survey, Huntsville Museum of Art
1st Place Award, “4th Annual Great Lakes Show,” Chicago, IL
Best of Show, Fall Crafts Fair, Nashville, TN
Best of Show, Columbus Arts Festival, Columbus, OH
Purchase Award, Clay National, Erie Arts Museum, Erie, PA
Best of Ceramics Award , Annual Student Art Competition, Knoxville, TN