'The roof came down steep and black like a cowl', Polly Read

Painting with a woman in the foreground and a large crow's head in the background

Enamel and pencil on paper, 151 x 170 cm

My recent paintings use loose gestures and subtle details that refer to traditional and romantic styles of painting. Overblown archetypes and figures mix with leafy and dreamy landscapes that convey the imaginary.

The medium’s masquerade is declared through familiar and comical symbolism. Clown-frowns and dumb birds emblematise the relationship between the genre of painting and the pathos of its history.

Mixing the media of pencil and paint creates varied pockets of interest that combine to suggest a narrative. The fluidity of the narrative is emphasised through the gestural use of paint, the boundaries of the figures becoming dispersed and the surface of the paper refusing the stability of canvas. The story is unresolved, leaving the viewer with a sense of absence and inertia.


Polly Read was born in London in 1982. She studied at Kent Institute for Art, Media and Design 2000-2001 and the University of the West of England, Bristol 2001-2004. She has been included in numerous group shows in Bristol 2001-2004, most recently Lux The Crypt, St. Paul’s Church 2004.