The Woskob Family Gallery is a space for contemporary arts and culture in downtown State College, PA.

Artist Q & A: Polly Shindler

July 12, 2017


Polly Shindler (b.1977, New Haven, CT) received her B.A. in History from The University of Massachusetts and her M.F.A. in Painting from Pratt Institute. She currently lives and works in Hamden, Connecticut. She has a solo show at Ortega y Gasset in Brooklyn, NY opening July 29, 2017. She was the resident curator at Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn in 2014. Polly was named one of “30 Artists to Watch in 2012” by NY Arts Magazine.

The use of interiors as a subject matter is a relatively new development in your work, what prompted this shift to representational imagery?

Although my paintings had been primarily abstract for many years, I had dabbled in representation within much of my work.  Then I began to focus on one object, repeating the same image over and over on a canvas.  After a few of these pieces (of teacups, sailboats, planets) I decided that the objects needed a place to live. They had been floating in space, whereas I wanted them to become more than a symbol of an object and become a real object.  I began to place these objects in spaces, and the spaces became more and more detailed until I was making complete interiors. A significant reason for my leap from abstract work to representational is my move from NYC to Connecticut last year.  The space and quiet of non-city living has given me an opportunity to really look at my surroundings and notice the little things that make up a life.

Are your paintings inspired by real places or are they completely imaginary? Why this choice?

I find inspiration in my home, homes of my friends and in catalogs.  I typically focus on one object, be it a chair or a piano and begin from there.  The furniture becomes an almost stand-in for the occupants of the home. The pieces in the room describe what kind of person lives there; so much is expressed by the things that people choose to put in their homes.  I may take elements from various real places, but I create a room that doesn’t really exist, for a person I don’t know.

Has your process changed at all in making this work?

These paintings have slowed down my process-in a good way. The process begins with much more research than I’ve done in the past.  I might not lay out the entire composition from the start, but I have a pretty good idea of what I would like the image to convey.  I don’t sit down and start painting straightaway like i used to.  I have to have my reference materials and an initial sketch in place before anything else happens.  I also find that I’m using far less paint by working with more detail and forethought.   I am now always on the lookout for objects that would serve my paintings, sometimes taking pictures when doing errands and visiting friends.


For more information visit Polly Shindler’s website at and follow her on Instagram at @pollyshindler 

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