Totem Animals, Mountains, GPS and new venues for Bunny

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Art History, Behind the Artwork | No Comments
A rabbit sits in front of a thicket of various plants including cacti and columbine flowers. She has her back turned to us as she gazes over her left shoulder. A lareg praying mantis is hiding at the top of the thicket above and to the right of the bunny. On the horizon is the Blue Ridge, a chain of mountains that creates the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

GPS, watercolor on paper, 2014, by Nancy Polo

My watercolor painting entitled GPS will be on display within a group show at the Fire Hall Gallery in Charles Town, WV in May, 2016. It is part of a larger series of over 100 works centered on my totem animal, a rabbit. The show features the work of artists who participated in CraftWorks with Rebecca Jones and continue to take her class.

This particular painting was made after I abandoned painting, or any art production, for 7 months. These periods of abandonment happen more often than I desire. This work was begun one delightful afternoon in Rebecca Jones’ class. It revived something essential and deeply personal. With the gentle encouragement and hope that Rebecca offers, I was able to reconnect with something that I too often put away for the sake of practicality.

Although Bunny is often shown within a very human context, in this painting she is very much a rabbit. She is also very lost in a world that has many things hidden below the surface. The over sized praying mantis at the top of the greenery alludes to something Bunny is either hiding from, or trying to avoid. On the horizon, however, sits the ever-present Blue Ridge. I look at these mountains every day. They border and enable my existence in so many ways: psychologically, economically and geographically. Bunny doesn’t fully understand this kind of GPS, and neither do I, but it is intensely felt.

(no soy tan vieja) "Go fuck yourself. And I mean that in all kindness." True North is all choked up, virginia creeper and more. (no se puede no amarte, todo el mundo te ama) I planted columbine to find my way. Where is the blue ridge? "Mom, I didn't like it when he said you were mentally ill." "I know, but he said he was sorry." (¿y ahora, donde voy a bailar?) I have my dress. I made it myself. I will figure out the rest... NEP, 10/15/14I often write poetry to accompany my Bunny images. The poem to the right was written just after completing GPS.

About the most recent Bunny series by Nancy Polo:

I’m an artist who lives on Smith Meadows, a sustainable grass-fed livestock farm in Berryville, Virginia. In October 2015, I completed a narrative series of 9 paintings in acrylic on wood panel centered around the theme of an artist living on an animal farm. The narrative thread is just emerging and is not fully developed in these works, but the response has been tremendously positive. In fact, it is inspiring a new series that follows Bunny on a more distinct journey through her imagination and the farm that shapes her daily existence.

The setting is a mythical, delightful farm. The Bunny of the paintings is my totem– an animal that possesses qualities similar to my own, as well as some super-human powers. She is a creative creature in constant motion. And she has the ability to sift thousands of mundane moments for a truth and beauty that often startle her. She senses the harmony of her life and the importance of love. These paintings are only a few of the many epiphanies Bunny has had.

Love is an act of imagination. Without both love and imagination, making a life from a farm would be very bleak. Tending to animals, plants and making food are all pleasant to imagine. The actual work involved, however, can be depleting– especially with the weekly deadline of farmers markets. Love for this work has to be cultivated by envisioning how infinite daily tasks come together to create harmony.

Other Places to see Bunny this Spring:

If you are in the area and would like to see Bunny and other amazing works of art for yourself, check out these shows:

Shenandoah Arts Council: Opus Oaks in Retrospect with Gale Bowman-Harlow and Malcom Harlow. My son Linus and I will both have works on display at this show. April 1-30, 2016
Reception: April 9, 3-5pm

Art at the Mill 2016: My painting Don’t Slip was selected for this biannual art show on display from April 23-May 8, 2016.

La Capretta Gallery at Smith Meadows: my work is on display all year long in a small gallery on the farm where I live. Open every day.


Leave a Reply