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Art & Photography - Painting

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Dances Through Glass

ISBN: 9780989224505
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Polly Norman and Bianca Sandino and George Slade
Pages: 88
Trim: 11 x 12 inches
Published: 5/10/2013

Honorable Mention The Eric Hoffer Award

First Place Winner in Four Categories Midwest Independent Publishers Association

Polly Norman's elegant compilation of photographs represents 25 years of art making. Woven among these exquisite works she also shares her struggle with manic depression and passion for dance, an alchemy that inspired her to make remarkable images that "dance."

Using a process entirely of her own invention Norman first photographs objects or scenes through architectural glass block in black and white. On select pieces she adds a second layer of photograms and may also paint the photo surface adapting 19th century hand-coloring techniques.

"My art is filtered shaped and bent through a unique type of glass. It is also filtered through a mind and soul that is at times tortured " says Norman in her introductory essay Soaring and Crashing.

Art historian and critic Bianca Sandino arranges Norman's works under the guise of three distinct dances: Cecchetti, Tango, and Tarantella.

Photography historian George Slade contributes an essay on Norman's "Eye Play" and an interview with the artist.


Polly Norman was a finalist for the 2010 Bush Artist Fellowships (BAF). She received an Award of Excellence at the 2012 "Arts in Harmony" International Juried Art Show (Elk River MN). She was also selected in 2012 to exhibit in the 7th Annual International Black and White Spider Awards London and in 2008 her work was published in The World's Greatest Black and White Photography Basil O'Brien Beverly Hills.


"I have rarely reviewed works by anyone and came to books available at Goodreads carefully being interested in very few. I was delighted to win a copy of Polly Norman's 'Dances Through Glass' not the least because I have worked with many artists over the years and started out as someone whose visual literacy can be summed up as non-existent and greatly enjoyed learning.

I wrote to the author telling her I had won and I looked forward to the book and she kindly replied informing me she had poured her heart and soul into the publication. I can see clearly the high level of design that has gone into this retrospective of an artist's work. This is a beautifully presented large hardback.
There is something very alluring in this work not the least the softening of edges in her hand painted gelatin originals such as Burst Daisy which reminds me of the rainbow lollipops children can buy and also evident in the abstracts such as Madcap and The Pianist where I am convinced there are eyes and mouths in the soft-focus shapes.

In her foreword the artist discusses her illness and her journey through art and dance back to mental health. You cannot really see illness in her work unlike some artists. Her use of colour is arresting and the way photographing through glass plays with shape gives us a unique sense of style. There are moments you feel she touches the eastern lacquer work and at others the purely abstract. She plays with dance in some of her drawings but in every one of her pieces you can see the rhythm underlined by her photographs of actual ballet dancers.

If you love art I think this book will always interest you." - Daniel Nanavati Goodreads

"In Polly's work there is a certain sense of realistic abstract. There is a sense of order but in that order there is a certain amount of chaos. It is a very unique expression of her creative process." -- Orin Rutchick the founder and executive director of the Minneapolis Photo Center

"I was fortunate enough to be one of the winners of this book this is also the first I've won in a Goodreads giveaway. I really hoped I'd win since I as Polly Norman am an artist who suffers from anxiety and depression so reading this was a truly personal and emotional experience. I am nowhere near the place she's at right now so it gave me hope and motivation to continue with my own fight.

The book contains a large amount of work done by Polly -plastic work photographs- which are really vibrant. It truly captures movement time and evolution as well as nostalgia pain and hope. The book also contains a timeline CV portraits texts and an interview with the artist herself as well as descriptive and introductory texts to the work by Bianca Sandino -art critic-.

I should mention that the edition of the book is excellent a beautiful hardcover book with a clean and spacious design containing very good quality prints. I widely recommended it to people who are sensitive to art and life in general." -Alexandra Lopez Hernandez Goodreads 5 of 5 stars

"Here is a successful creative individual who has a disorder that has actually enhanced her creativity through treatment and stability. For people who have the disorders Polly has experienced and their friends and family it gives an awareness of what the perceptions and feelings are."-- Psychiatrist Ronald Groat M.D. Minnetonka Minn.

"If she has a mental illness and her work is an outlet for her it's less a mental illness than it is an asset. I like the fact that she has a language all her own. If that somehow helps her mitigate the effects of a mental illness then that's fantastic."-- George Slade a writer and photography historian at re:photographica of Minneapolis

"I was thrilled to receive this book through a Goodreads giveaway and looked forward to receiving it with much anticipation and I was not disappointed. This is a beautiful book both in presentation and story. Being a bead artist I was especially taken with the color photos of flowers. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys art or interesting photography." -Debbie Dujusto Goodreads 5 of 5 stars

A new perspective in art a very intriguing book.-Vicki Saikaly Goodreads 5 of 5 stars