Stephen Polatch

painting of woman in milk bath with bottles

Stephen Polatch dissolves the complex hierarchy of natural, architectural, and human orders. Typically, a central exchange between Polatch’s subjects is what matters most in his works. Moments such as these — crossing glances, collaborations between humans and animals, or inner visions projecting into the picture plane— occupy a focal point from which his compositions are bent around. Their compact scale also lends the works a concentrated sense of longing for something purer and more direct, which corresponds to his technique of applying unmixed pigment directly to the surface of the canvas. Polatch refutes a stable chronology, employing a wide range of historical references, from the lyricism and symbolic imagery of medieval illuminated manuscripts, the brilliant lighting of the Nabis, to the repetitive mechanics of Futurism—within the interconnected systems of Polatch’s compositions is the promise, the rushing fluidity, of discovering the new in the familiar.

Stephen Polatch (b. 1990, London, UK) lives and works in London, UK. Polatch received his BFA from at The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford, UK in 2013, and went on to study at the Royal Drawing School in London. Recent solo exhibitions include: Swan-Road, Margot Samel, New York (2022); and Clyde, Soft Opening, London, UK (2022). Recent group exhibitions include: To be a giant and keep quiet about it, Yee Society, Hong Kong (2022); Viscereal, Althuis Hofland, Amsterdam, NL; Even a Cat Can Look at the Queen, Mrs., Queens, NY; To be a giant and keep quiet about it, Margot Samel, New York (2022); Prestwick II, New Glasgow Society East, Glasgow, UK (2022); Peepers, K Halstead, London, UK (2021); A Many Voiced Argument with Life, Glasgow International/Market Gallery, Glasgow, UK (2021); Prestwick, New Glasgow Society East, Glasgow, UK (2021); The Amber Room II, Amber Room, London, UK (2020); Eigenheim, Soft Opening, London, UK (2020); Graven Images, New Glasgow Society, Glasgow, UK (2019); Drawings of Iasi, Iasi, RO (2019); Bilder, New Glasgow Society, Glasgow, UK (2018), and Unswept House, Unit 42, Glasgow, UK (2017). Polatch is included in an upcoming group exhibition In Three Acts at Huxley-Parlour, London, UK.