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Art By Polly Nor
Home Social Issues Sexuality
By: Hannah Rose Prendergast Email Article
Word Count: 488 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it

Have you ever got home after a long day of work, then the minute you hit that recliner, cracked that beer, and started watching reruns of The Real Housewives of Orange County, you became someone else? At that moment, all your cares in the world started to melt away along with the resolve to please everyone around you before yourself. What does this look like to you?

For artist Polly Nor, it looks like a devil which has divested itself of a very weighty human skin suit. This metamorphosis isn’t as scary as it sounds though, in fact, it can be quite comical. Polly creates these characters in her image and in the image of girls that she knows, drawing inspiration from "everyday struggles, things that [she’s] feeling, memories, dreams, conversations with friends, funny tweets, status updates and selfies."

We are given a look into the privacy of these girls homes; usually bathrooms or bedrooms, where they spend their time smoking, drinking, sleeping, crying, getting ready, taking selfies, sexting, and sometimes masturbating. The devil almost always inserts herself in these activities, perching herself on a bookshelf at times, and at others making a more obvious intrusion that leaves empty bottles of booze and cigarette butts in her wake. Polly refers to the devils as "figments of her [the female protagonist’s] imagination, a manifestation of her frustrations, feelings and desires." This leaves the character of the devil in as constant a state of flux as the girl she is imagined by.

Polly also uses her art as a platform for discussing sex and gender issues; "questioning the ubiquitous male vision [of women]," using an "alternative view on sexuality, relationships and emotions from a modern-day female perspective." This would explain why most of the women she draws are nude or barely clothed; to more easily expose what would normally be considered ‘imperfect’. In keeping with challenging unrealistic ideals for women, Polly says that some of her work is a reaction to pornography; a male-dominated industry she believes is responsible for objectifying women and misrepresenting sex and female pleasure. Cue, "The Devil Wears Nada," "Nm Rly Wbu," and "Took Him to The Sky Garden."

At the heart of Polly’s work is this inner turmoil that has you completely at odds with your she-devil one moment and embracing her the next. Sometimes even to the point where you become one with her. There are times that I wish there was no layer to peel back; no second skin, but I think you need that tension to be there. As human beings, we’re not one dimensional, Polly’s work is living proof of that. She’s getting us comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to let our mask slip sometimes, let alone to accept that we all wear one.

HANNAH ROSE PRENDERGAST is a Ottawa fashion blogger


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