Dances through Glass
by Polly Norman
Avant Circle Publishing

"I see the world differently."

This coffee table art book captures the passions of dancer, photographer, and award-winning painter Norman. It is a twenty-five-year retrospective of her work in visual vignettes. Norman opens with lyrical observations about her mood disorder, a gift that robs her life of joy while also giving it great depth and meaning. She says, “Gradually, I realized the gift in all this…. In experiencing life through this particular suffering, I made the choice to reveal my unique vision and share it with others through my art.” Norman’s primary inspirations are dancers, flora, and abstractions. She explores how her photography began with her love of movement and dance. After the introductory chapters come the artist’s forty-four images, thematically divided into three movements, three dances: “Chechetti,” “Tango,” and “Tarantella.” After a minimal introduction, the reader is blissfully left to explore the artwork, which bears only titles, medium, and artwork dimensions.

Sparely but beautifully designed, the Zen-like book is clearly a proverbial heart and soul effort by the author to share the personal essence of her work. That she lays bare her emotional history makes this collection all the more touching, as it serves as a reminder that the artistic bent gifted with mood disorders is well worth the effort to develop. Norman brings a fine-tuned interior sense of line, movement, and story into her visual work. She reveals an additional fascination with depth and texture. Her sense of color is simultaneously austere yet vibrant, a jewel-toned world of dream-like mists with strong repeating linear shapes amidst their more circular and sinuous opposites. The potential for change in the artwork is strongly suggested by the sense of movement and moods cast by the palette, suggesting the impermanence of both staged and natural phenomena.

A 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award Art Category Honorable Mention

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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