Polly Apfelbaum

Biography of Polly Apfelbaum

The work of internationally acclaimed American artist Polly Apfelbaum (b. 1955) is instantly alluring. Rainbows of vibrant colors come together in works that hover between prints, paintings, installations and sculptures. Her pieces are often hard to categorize, and are made through a variety of artistic practices, as well as being constructed from found objects and craft works. Apfelbaum, influenced by the visual languages of abstract expressionist and feminist tendencies, explores ideas about gender, identity and daily existence through her kaleidoscopic compositions. Her artwork titles also reveal an array of sources of inspiration from music, history, politics, architecture, nature, film and mass media.


Polly Apfelbaum’s works are carefully planned, though an element of spontaneity is retained by the impromptu arrangement of her chosen forms and structures. In her print-works as much as in her installations, Apfelbaum combines numerous geometric and organic forms in vivid colors. She employs variations in layout, size and color. Adaptability is a key component of her work and she often alters a singular theme. This is particularly true of her use of printmaking techniques. Apfelbaum now consistently uses woodblocks to print with as a dynamic method for exploring and further developing her long-standing printmaking practice, taking in new directions that reflect her overall artistic intentions. Her artworks are zealously stimulating, leaving their audience with a lingering energy and inquisitiveness.


Polly Apfelbaum is represented by the influential Frith Street Gallery and Alexander Grey Associates. Works of hers features in the collections of major institutions worldwide including MoMA in NY, the LACMA in LA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, and the Dallas Museum of Art amongst others. She had a major mid-career retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, the Carlow Visual Center for Contemporary Art in Ireland, and Bepart in Belgium.

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