Polly Thompson
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As an Oberlin College undergraduate, Polly Thompson was influenced by taking art history classes with Ellen Johnson, and the occasional studio course, but she was drawn to science as well and majored in geology. After graduation, and a semester of graduate work in volcanology at the University of Oregon, Thompson enrolled at the University of Vermont College of Medicine with the intention of becoming a doctor. But, despite her background in scientific study, art won out in the end, and Polly Thompson has been painting and exhibiting her work for 23 years. Her paintings have been included in numerous museum shows, including the 2009 “Paws and Reflect: Art of Canines” at the Elizabeth de C. Wilson museum at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Although her work often focuses on dogs for its primary subject matter, her paintings are not about dogs in the traditional sense. “My paintings are always narrative pieces, never simply portraits of poodles or pugs. In many ways, the dog is our emotional equivalent and excels in the expression of such feelings as jealousy or remorse.” As playful as the fancifully constructed environments or narratives of her paintings seem to be, they are often metaphorical or subtly suggestive of universal states of being that are difficult to express literally but are movingly recognizable.


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