Yavuz Gallery is pleased to present will you, fill me, Tom Polo’s first solo exhibition in Asia.
Polo is one of the most acclaimed painters of his generation in Australia. He uses painting and painted environments to explore how conversation, gesture and exchange are embodied acts of portraiture. Incorporating text and figurative elements, his works draw upon acute personal observations, absurdist encounters and imagined personas. An ongoing interest across his practice is the emotional and performative relationships between people and the social and psychological spaces they occupy.
Using a vibrant palette, Polo stages the surfaces of his canvases with various oddballs, misfits and characters. Colourful bodies are submerged within complex layers of paint, pastels and varied techniques that blur the distinction between foreground and background, and of where one ends and begins. As writer Tan Siuli notes in her exhibition essay, his “surfaces bristle with a restless energy. Oscillating between abstraction and figuration, intimations of bodies bleed into other forms, their contours metamorphosizing into phantasmagoria. There are suggestions of faces within faces, and incidental markings slowly form into new characters or elements on close looking.”
Polo’s latest works in will you, fill me presents a cast of characters with exaggerated poses and theatrical gestures. These physical acts – hands reaching, arms shielding, fingers pointing – allude to the social exchanges of the everyday and our interactions with those around us; the veils of intimacy and our shared anxieties. Blurring the lines between looking at others and of looking, Polo’s works speak of how encounters, no matter how fleeting, have great potentiality in the emotional, physical and psychological worlds we inhabit.
Tom Polo (b. 1985) holds a BFA and MFA from the University of New South Wales, Sydney (Australia). He has exhibited extensively across Australia. Recent curated shows include: FREE/STATE, the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art; Contact Us, Cement Fondu, Sydney (2020); The National, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2019); Beyond Reason: exploring the logic of the imagination, Queensland University of Technology Art Museum (2018); and Primavera 2017: Young Australian Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2017). He has been a finalist of many prestigious art prizes in Australia, including the Archibald Prize (2018), the Sir John Sulman Prize (2021, 2019), the Ramsay Art Prize (2021), amongst others. He is the winner of the 2015 Brett Whiteley Traveling Scholarship and the Parramatta Creative Fellowship, City of Parramatta, Australia; and in 2011 was awarded the Credit Suisse Private Banking Contemporary Art Award. Polo’s works are in numerous public and private collections, such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Artbank, Australia; and the Joyce Nissan Collection, Melbourne, Australia.