Ballad of the Broken Body: New Work by David Polka • July 3rd – July 25, 2015.
Opening Reception: Friday, July 3rd, 6pm-9pm • RSVP on Facebook
Ballad of the Broken Body is a collection of figurative paintings that aim to unravel personal trauma, both physical and psychological.
“In October 2011, three weeks after I moved to Oakland, a drunk driver struck me while I was I was riding my bike, then immediately drove away. To this day, I cannot recollect the crash, or the moments leading up to it, leaving the actual event in the void of my subconscious. I can only recall the shockingly bright light of the emergency room at Highland Hospital, as I awoke to multiple rib fractures, a broken hip, shattered shoulder, and a severe concussion.
Overwhelmed by the violence of my injuries, the impact on the physical structure of my body created psychological reverberations of corresponding violence. From my hospital bed, I observed the chaos accompanying the police crackdown and subsequent protests during the ongoing Occupy demonstrations at the time. So close, yet seemingly light years away, the political violence provided a surreal backdrop for my personal struggle — grappling with the sudden sense of helplessness that accompanies the loss of physical ability. Deeply afraid that my capacity to paint and draw had been jeopardized by my shoulder injury, I became entangled in negative, vindictive energy, drifting in and out of consciousness in an opiate haze. Forced to confront manifestations of this energy, I found myself with a choice – to continue to immerse myself in the darkest aspects of the experience, or to channel the emotional and physical pain into a transformative healing process.
This experience of deep bodily trauma and liminal psychological states serve as the impetus behind Ballad of the Broken Body. Building on my continued interest in visualizing memory as the underlying strata of our psyche, this collection of work draws directly from personal history and perspectives. Swirling clouds envelope battered figures, uprooted by affliction and injury. Much like the scars that mark my body, the lines and shapes that move across these figures trace a harrowing emotional landscape. Faced with the choice to hate, to heal, or to slowly waste away, these characters embody the crossroads we all face when confronting tragedy and misfortune.”
David Polka is a visual artist and graphic designer currently based in Oakland, CA. Originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico, he moved to the East Bay 4 years ago to immerse himself in the area’s thriving art scene. A graduate of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, he has been exhibiting work professionally since 2006.
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