excerpt from:

Carnies and


by Zane Fisher

Santa Fe Reporter

April 11, 2007

< back to World of Wonders page

"...Pollina's work, in particular, oozes a kind of dark, passive-aggressive brilliance that simultaneously troubles and delights the soul. All executed in graphite on board, these works are large, up to 18 by 28 inches, in comparison with the too-brief experiences Santa Fe has had with Pollina in the past.

While finishing this most recent body of work, Pollina stumbled upon the final book in Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy, World of Wonders and, finding immediate and startling affinity, he anointed his exhibition with the same name. Outwardly, it's tempting to absorb Pollina's stormy grayscale compositions as abstract drawings or as easy innuendo to smoke and clouds, but they are much more cunning, and even sometimes crueler, than that.

Mostly on a field of graphite-hatched black, Pollina's work allows ruptures into the underlying form of a drawing. Within lies more of a figurative presence than an actual form creating a careful seduction that draws the eye deep into the fold of the drawing before suddenly dismissing the viewer in total rebuff. Like a lovestruck fool, you can't help but try to enter again from another angle.

One critical element in Davies' book of illusion, carnivals and magic is the mechanical man who performs incredible feats of magic, awing audiences who never realize that a living dwarf is inside working the levers and cogs. Pollina has effectively created the same dynamic with his work: We know there is some force-whether robot heart, human hand or pure magic-drafting the polyphonic fugue of beauty and terror that percusses from each careful mark, but he never allows us to quite resolve the simple source of the complex experience his drawings evoke. Or, as Davies puts it: "The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend."

- Zane Fisher

Santa Fe Reporter
April, 2007