Based on Gadigal Country (Sydney), Tom Polo’s practice investigates how conversation and gestures can be transformed into portraiture. Polo’s paintings and installations occupy the emotional and physical space between abstraction and figuration. They are rendered in bold, expansive fields of colour.

Painted flat on the studio floor, in Guiding Guardians (This Wasn't Yours), Polo uses acrylic paint to create gestural recordings on an immersive scale. The thinner pools and washes of paint are veils or barriers, both emotional and physical, that create spaces that are simultaneously transparent and impenetrable.

Embedded within the work are repeatedly erased texts, words spoken by the artist or things overheard, including the phrase 'This Wasn't Yours’. These exist as both declarations and denials, clear and clouded, of doubt and commitment. It is the spaces between that Polo finds the most intriguing.

Tom Polo is represented by STATION and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

installation view: Ramsay Art Prize 2021 featuring Guiding Guardians (This Wasn't Yours) by Tom Polo, 2020; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photo: Saul Steed.; photo: Saul Steed.