Sunday, 21 January 2018

Ana Pollak

link to artist's website

12 January - 10 February       Towers

Ana Pollak. Towers, 2018. Eucalyptus Spirularis (Blackbutt ) on plywood.


Ana’s farther and her grandparents came to Australia as refugees from Europe. Ana herself has lived for the last 30 years, since 1987 in a house she built with her partner David on Dangar Island, about an hour and a half north of Sydney in the Hawkesbury River. Ana is no stranger to the Australian landscape where these towers began to form in her imagination.

Ana Pollak. Towers, 2018. Eucalyptus Spirularis (Blackbutt ) on plywood.

They are an idea she carried with her to Hong Kong, another island where the verticality of the eucalypt gives way to the built environment, literally towers.  Hong Kong offers the unique urban experience of encountering multi story buildings at the middle level. As with Ana’s towers, buildings are appreciated without reference to the top or bottom. The towers of Dangar and the buildings of Hong Kong are each a set of pragmatic structures that pulsate with rhythms without reference to the narrative constraints of a beginning or end.
In Hong Kong as a guest of the Nock Art Foundation to study calligraphy, as she described “people embraced me in the brotherhood of the line.” Ana makes drawings.  Impressively she won the celebrated Dobell Drawing Prize in 2007, and before all else, these towers are drawings made with lines collected “outside the front door” on Dangar Island.

Ana Pollak. Towers, 2018. Eucalyptus Spirularis (Blackbutt ) on plywood.

Looking at Ana’s towers I found myself reflecting on the bamboo scaffolding used on the building sites of South East Asian cities. Structures Ana said she had marveled at in Hong Kong where they are tightly wrapped in a fabric covering hinting at “the bones” beneath the “skin”. All these enigmatic structures have something in common. It is that a person made the decision on the spot, about how to fit one bit into another, about which bit of material was best suited to bridge a particular gap. Here a person has solved a problem and it’s that solution that becomes art because it carries with it someone’s humanity. Birds, animals even insects make comparable structures that in fairness have an equal claim as ART. Their work points to the universality of Ana’s expression. It reaches from the devastation of war-torn Europe across the Australian isle to our Asian future, “the brotherhood of line” indeed.

Back in Australia and after 6 weeks in her studio Ana’s work is offered as art, prompting the questions. What do you seen in your imagery? Her response, “pass”. What is your process? – “pass”. How do you begin? – “pass”. And how do you conclude? “That’s the tricky thing that everyone’s having a problem with, when the tower falls over, when it gets too tall for the studio”. Apparently this is a liner experience without beginning or end.

- Tony Twigg