In Phantom Limbs and Landscapes, Polly Yates brings together three bodies of work whose methods and formal qualities overlap. Working both two dimensionally and sculpturally, lines are drawn, by blade and bandage, which map the contours of memory and absence.
The recent works made from found family archives of people and landscapes, explore the power of the considered alteration. Mountains are spun into seas and seas are spun into skies. Lines trace bodies which are gone, emptied or absent. While there can be something faintly violent about a cut photograph, there is care to Yates’ reconstruction. The join is equal to the cut, the destructive impulse equal to the conciliatory.
Photographs that were lost, abandoned, sold, or given up, experience additional loss through the process of having their subjects physically removed. Yet, something is gained through the personal becoming anonymous; a generality is attained and the photographs become reflections of a collective past.
Yates locates her sculptures between the photo series and borrow formal elements from both. While the photographs remain taut, the sculptures have exhausted their tension and have collapsed, like exhaled bodies, ghosts, or phantom limbs.