Polly Bagnall, who lives and works in London, incorporates painting, film, performance and dance into her art practice.
She uses her body in a ‘performative’ way to inform or make paintings. She modifies or makes a range of customised mark making tools that she then attaches to her body . This is to limit her ‘skill’ as a painter, but paradoxically allows for something less predictable to arise on the canvas, generating a unique visual language.
Some of Polly’s paintings respond to her experience of the external world. A certain colour or sound for example, can trigger a physical response in her body. These physical sensations influences the gestures that she employs in each painting, for example pushing, scraping, licking, or wiping the paint across the canvas.The body is the painting tool. Her body gestures bring raw energy and emotion to the painting. Polly has spent the last two years developing techniques that have the potential to leave a particular visual trace; either using appendages attached to clothes and body, or painting with parts of her body, for example her tongue or palm of her hand. Polly also attaches and uses everyday domestic objects to create the mark making tools. She feels they relate to her experiences as a woman. The appendages she paints with come from her domestic life – a bicycle horn, kitchen scourer, mop, child’s pyjamas, a bobble hat. Tying objects to herself can also restrict her movement, making the mark making process more interesting.
The experimental side of Polly’s work is very important. She makes films and performances often collaborating with musicians and other non-visual artists as she is interested in using non-art processes, for example she may set herself a list of actions (walk round the canvas, mop the floor) that leave a visual trace when performed. Polly is also particularly interested in recording ordinary, everyday actions that generally go unnoticed.