WHAT LIES BE­NEATH

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - ART & MUSIC -

Niall Mac­mona­gle

third-level study. “I wanted to see art and breathe art his­tory.”

She stud­ied art his­tory in the Na­tional Gallery Li­brary, sketched, painted, vis­ited gal­leries.

For Pohli — the name is Ger­man — “the Von der Heydt Mu­seum in Wup­per­tal was the big­gest eye opener for me: a liv­ing in­tro­duc­tion to Ger­man Ex­pres­sion­ism”.

And she mar­ried a man from there.

Now her world is “na­ture, plants, an­i­mals, birds, hedgerows, day­light, evening light, rain, wind, storms, flood, fog”, and “the soft pastoral ‘ bocage’ land­scape around Mayo Abbey” is her in­spi­ra­tion.

“Mayo of­fers an abun­dance of mo­tifs and ideas for art.”

Paula Pohli rises early: “I feed the birds first, I re­view what I did yes­ter­day, plan the day ahead.

“Joyce said ev­ery Friday kills a Thurs­day and for me each day is a new art day.” She reads a lot, walks a lot and likes driv­ing down third­class roads.

The new show con­tains 50 works from 2015-2017: land­scapes, birds, flies and flow­ers. There’s a black and white linocut show­ing 12 dead flies from January through De­cem­ber.

“The form of the dead flies in­ter­ested me graph­i­cally,” and Pohli likes “the smell of lino, the cut­ting and carv­ing, the ink­ing and print­ing the im­age on pa­per.”

This im­age, Poppy’s Last Day, us­ing egg yolk, water, pig­ment, a more colour­ful work, fea­tures “an ori­en­tal poppy in our gar­den, a moment be­tween bloom and de­cay”.

It’s not meant to be a sad im­age — “the ver­mil­ion is both at­trac­tive and dan­ger­ous; this poppy is po­tent”.

As it dies, says Pohli, “its hand­ker­chief-like petals fold in on them­selves and it be­comes a dark dra­matic heap of de­cay­ing reds, black and pur­ples”. Yes, time does fly. Does art at­tempt to stop time? “I do not con­sciously think to stop time when mak­ing art but you see birds and an­i­mals dy­ing in the coun­try­side. You see the buds on the trees pop­ping out and the burst of life is in­ter­est­ing.”

She sees “Me­mento Mori sub­jects ev­ery­where and ev­ery day”, but does not feel sad about the pass­ing of the sea­sons.

Pop­pies have their last day but as an­other lover of County Mayo, poet Michael Lon­g­ley, re­minds us: “The poppy that sheds its flower-heads in a day/ Grows in one sum­mer four hun­dred flow­ers.”

Tem­pus Fugit by Paula Pohli is at darc space gallery, [01-8788535], 26 North Great Ge­orge’s St, un­til Oc­to­ber 6.

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