"Dances Through Glass" A 25-Year Retrospective of Work by Photographer and Painter Polly Norman

Dances Through Glass - Polly Norman I have rarely reviewed works by anyone, and came to books available at Goodreads carefully, being interested in very few. I was delighted to win a copy of Polly Norman's 'Dances Through Glass', not the least because I have worked with many artists over the years and started out as someone whose visual literacy can be summed up as non-existent, and greatly enjoyed learning.
I wrote to the author telling her I had won and I looked forward to the book and she kindly replied informing me she had poured her heart and soul into the publication. I can see clearly the high level of design that has gone into this retrospective of an artist's work. This is a beautifully presented, large hardback.
There is something very alluring in this work, not the least the softening of edges in her hand painted gelatin originals, such a Burst Daisy which reminds me of the rainbow lollipops children can buy, and also evident in the abstracts such as Madcap and The Pianist, where, I am convinced, there are eyes and mouths in the soft-focus shapes.
In her foreword the artist discusses her illness and her journey through art and dance, back to mental health. You cannot really see illness in her work, unlike some artists. Her use of colour is arresting, and the way photographing through glass plays with shape gives us a unique sense of style. There are moments you feel she touches the eastern lacquer work and at others the purely abstract. She plays with dance in some of her drawings but in every one of her pieces you can see the rhythm, underlined by her photographs of actual ballet dancers.
If you love art, I think this book will always interest you. I suspect in art as in life, we see what we want to see and you will probably disagree with me on every point.
The artist also has a question and answer section at the back of the book for the reader to learn more about her motivations and her experiences.