Artist Polly Perkins awarded 3rd Place Honors in Morean Annual Members Show

02 Sep 2020, Posted by Robin McGowan in Uncategorized

Polly Perkins, a St. Petersburg artist who enjoys exploring contemporary themes with the traditional artform of woodblock printing is the recipient of the third-place honors in the Annual Members Show of the Morean Arts Center adjudicated by artist Chad Mize. Perkins, responded to the call for entries with ‘Year of Fear’ an assemblage of woodblock images that capture the essence of the year in a 20” x 20” format. In describing her art, Perkins explained that the medium she used in creating ‘Year of Fear’ influenced her approach. “The printmaking process lends itself to repeated images, the simple faces all with the same expression and masks. It reinforces the idea that we’re all in this together. The numbers were a late addition. When I realized how the faces looked like zeros, it made sense to spell out 2020,” said Perkins.

Polly Perkins used a woodcut hand print assemblage technique for the Pelican Proud exhibition celebrating the City of St. Pete’s official bird

Perkins experienced a lifetime of artmaking in many media before focusing on handprinted woodblocks. “It is a relief process. I enjoy carving the block, rolling the ink, and the experience of seeing the image emerge. The texture of ink and wood, the graphic aspect of the images, and the overlapping layers make the process a delight,” she said. I work full time in my studio, concentrating on woodcut printmaking and oil painting. After 40 years as a museum exhibit designer and many years on a computer as a graphic artist, these traditional media offer tactile, physical challenges with real pigments, oils and tools.”

When Perkins is not at work in her home studio, she explores the trails and coastlines of Florida where she enjoys studying nature. While compliance with COVIC guidelines has stalled some of her explorations, she reports, “I have been very busy in my studio; woodcuts of birds, vegetables, landscapes and plants… my creative work helps keep me sane these days.” Her nature inspired notecards and handprints of horseshoe crabs and shorebirds are a favorite with visitors and locals alike and may be found at the Morean Arts Center gallery shop and online.

One of a kind notecards are available in the Morean Arts Center gallery shop

Perkins has also tackled both subjects and print formats that are significant. Last year she was among the 17 Florida artists selected to participate in the Big Ink exhibition and demonstrations hosted at the Morean Arts Center. “A quick sketch by 16th century Venetian artist Tintoretto inspired my woodblock design titled ‘Tintoretto Dreamboat,’” said Perkins. “In Tintoretto’s drawing a figure is twisting around to look directly at us, its clothing swirling around with a grid in the background. The face is neither male nor female. In my version I wanted to see this figure as large as life,” said Perkins. She also participated in the 2018 BIG INK exhibition in Philadelphia. The woodblock press allowed her to print images up to 40 inches wide and 8 feet high. The presses require a team of artists to operate and is in contrast to the solitude she typically enjoys in her studio.

Polly Perkins stands with her life size woodcut in her home studio

Perkins holds an MFA from Rutgers University, a BFA from Temple University, and has completed Studies in Printmaking at the University of Colorado & Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. Education: Her Recent shows include: PAVA CoolArt and 2CoolArt shows 2017-2020; Five Deuces Galleria Exhibit Oct 2019; 24Hands Printmaking Collective, Studio@620 St Petersburg FL, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin FL, “On Your Mark”; ArtNow Printmaking at Ann Arbor Art Center, Michigan; Studio@620, Woodfield Fine Art Gallery in St Petersburg FL; Tampa Main Library in 2016; 2015 All Florida Juried Show, Morean Arts Center, St Petersburg; Florida west coast outdoor art festivals, including Gasparilla and Gainesville. Her work has been purchased by Tampa’s “Art In Public Places,” is included in private and corporate collections, and has traveled nationally as part of a 2-year exhibition from the Everson Museum, Syracuse.

See the exhibition: The Morean Annual Members Show is currently featured in the galleries at 719 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. The galleries are FREE and open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Saturday; and on Sunday between 12 noon and 5 pm. The Morean is implementing best practices related to sanitizing and cleaning surfaces, health screenings for employees, and asks visitors to comply with social distancing and other guidelines. Face masks are required in the gallery under current City of St. Petersburg laws.

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