On The Cover: Ken Polinskie | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

On The Cover: Ken Polinskie 

"King of Clubs," Ken Polinskie, ink and watercolor on artist made paper, 26” x 22”, 2013
  • "King of Clubs," Ken Polinskie, ink and watercolor on artist made paper, 26” x 22”, 2013

Twenty years ago, a short while after moving to Hudson, still-life artist Ken Polinskie realized he had a problem. It was a furry, four-legged problem that answered to the name Wilbur. "Wilbur was a little Jack Russell Terrier," recounts Polinskie, "and he would sit on my work desk all day and stare at me." The dog's unwavering gaze proved prohibitively distracting, so one day, he called his friend Donald McKinney for advice. "Donald," Polinskie said, "Wilbur's driving me insane. He just stares at me all day." And McKinney replied, significantly, "Well, why don't you stare back?"

This moment caused a sea change in Polinskie's artistic career. He did as his friend suggested and, almost over night, went from drawing neo-expressionist botanical pieces to sketching small mammals. "I started to look at the things right in front of me," he explains, with the goal of "clarifying their emotional context."

King of Clubs exemplifies Polinskie's most recent period and will be on display at Greene County Council on the Arts' "Playing with a Full Deck" exhibit in Catskill through March 1. Though the piece may look like a drawing, its lines are comprised of tiny brushstrokes. Polinskie created the pitaya-pink background, a look inspired by a French Renaissance technique called rosaille, by crafting and tinting the watercolor paper himself. Like Polinskie's other animal paintings, King of Clubs arises from a study of symbolism in imagery. "The humor in the image is that this tiny Chihuahua is a very grand figure," he says. "It's symbolic of when we overvalue ourselves, and yet the Chihuahua remains endearing because he has a lot of pride in himself."

Polinskie claims his earlier work lacked this emotional depth. During the height of his career in the 1980s, he painted "muscular flowers" in sweeping strokes. The flowers had movement and drama but, according to Polinskie, little or no symbolic significance. The New York Times purportedly described his floral figures as "automatous." Now, however, his artistic goals have shifted from mastering complex techniques such as pulp painting, in which paper itself serves as the medium, to arranging images with the power to "unhinge a literal emotionality" in viewers.

The "Playing with a Full Deck" exhibition is a fundraiser for the Greene County Council on the Arts, featuring a limited-edition deck of playing cards designed by 52 artists. A charity Texas Hold `Em poker tournament will be held on February 8 at 6pm and a closing party and auction will be on March 1 at the GCCA Catskill Gallery. Greenearts.org.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Saugerties Writer's Club @ Saugerties Public Library

Saugerties Writer's Club

Second and Fourth Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. — Do you like to write? Have you ever thought of writing? Join...

6th Annual Summer Hoot

Fri., Aug. 24, Sat., Aug. 25 and Sun., Aug. 26 — A 3-day music festival at The Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, NY (20...
Huichica Hudson Music Festival @ Chaseholm Farm

Huichica Hudson Music Festival

Fri., Aug. 24, 3 p.m., Sat., Aug. 25, 3 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 26, 3 p.m. — The Huichica Music Festival returns to the Hudson Valley this summer for...
Time Travelers: Hudson Valley Artists 2018 @ Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

Time Travelers: Hudson Valley Artists 2018

June 16-Nov. 11 — The works in the exhibition recognize the universal human desire to experience...
Putnam County Wine & Food Fest @ Patterson Fire Department

Putnam County Wine & Food Fest

Aug. 25-26, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. — Enjoy the best wine and spirits New York has to offer, plus...

View all of today's events

Latest in Arts & Culture

Chronogram on Instagram

@Chronogram