Artist done with bowing and scraping

Published date22 June 2022
Publication titleWhanganui Midweek
It’s next to the big building where the Wanganui Chronicle once reigned and where Jack Mitchell-Anyon now makes coffee. Two big, dark doors guard Orphic from the street, but through those doors is an exhibition featuring oil paintings and clay sculptures by Polly Cleverley. Bowing and Scraping ... To Whom and for Why ... is across the road from Polly’s shop, Wolves in chic clothing, which is directly beneath the studio and gallery she shares with partner Duncan Smith. Their studio is called artso, which is short for artsolutely ... well, that’s the polite version

The exhibition title, Bowing and Scraping ... To Whom and for Why came about, says Polly, because she’s at an age where none of that matters any more, where she’s no longer “bowing and deferring and hiding and minimalising and silencing everything that I had to say”.

Polly has been painting for 20 years, on and off, but very “off”, because she was trying to make a living doing other things.

“I also reached a stage, and have a wonderful opportunity of a studio to work from, and a lot of artists don’t have that privilege of being able to work in a studio, shut the door and walk away, then go back the next day and resume the same painting. Nobody interferes with the process so I am now painting every day.

“I’ve come into a space in my life where things are very simple and I’ve got a few boxes I’m interested in bouncing in, and, pretty much, number one is painting.”

Polly found Whanganui after a two decade search for who she is and where she wants to be. She comes from Ōamaru, evidence of which can be found in some of...

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