Polly Little

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Rita Argen Auerbach

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Exhibition March 2024 link


Polly Little (American, 1954-    )

Artist Statement:

An intense investigation of the human-animal bond lies at the core of Polly Little’s recent paintings and sculptures. Based on her exhaustive observation of domestic pets, wild animals in zoos and in nature, as well as animal photography, Little’s paintings depict not only the wary animal gaze, but also suggest spiritual connections. They remind us of the cultural history of humankind’s relations with animals, both worshipped and sacrificed, and as man’s first painting subjects. 

Little’s motivation arises from her admiration of the instinctual, unwavering honesty of animal behavior, a characteristic often lacking in their human counterparts. Her expressionist brushwork reveals her passion for the process of painting. Little’s energetic brush strokes suggest constant change and reflect the mutable challenges of life in all its forms. In contrast to the specific animal subjects, Little’s plaster sculptures of mammals of indefinite classification contribute a touch of whimsy.

“The eyes of an animal when they consider a man are attentive and wary. The same animal may well look at other species in the same way. He does not reserve a special look for man. But by no other species except man will the animal’s look be recognized as familiar. Other animals are held by the look. Man becomes aware of himself returning the look.”  - John Berger, Why Look at Animals?


Artist’s Website: pollylittle.com


Education: University of New Mexico, M.A. Painting & Drawing,(minor-Art History) Albuquerque, 1980; University of New Mexico, B.F.A. (Painting & Drawing), 1978; and Missouri Western State College, B.A. Fine Arts. 1976.


Teaching/Employment Experience: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Deputy Director, 2019-22, Development Director, 1998-2019, and Administrative Director 1995-98; Erie County Community College, adjunct assistant 1990-95; Arts in Education Institute of Western New York, Teaching Artist, 1990-94; Williamsville Public School District, substitute teacher, 1990-92; Medaille College, adjunct instructor, Buffalo, 1991 & 95; North Lake Community College, Adjunct Art Instructor, Irving, TX; Texas Woman's University, Adjunct Asst. Professor, 1984-1985; Mattingly Baker Gallery, Assistant Director, Dallas, 1980-1982; and University of New Mexico, Teaching and Lithography Assistant, 1978-80.


One-Person Exhibitions:

2020- March-April, “Animalia 2” – CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2015- February-March, “Menagerie”, Dolce Valvo Art Center, NCCC, Sanborn, NY.

2011- “Sanctuary”, Indigo Gallery, one-person exhibition, Buffalo, NY.

2002- May-June, “Polly Little “New Works”, Buffalo Arts Studio, Buffalo, NY.

1995- July-September, "Animalia-Works by Polly Little", Castellani Art Museum, Niagara Falls, NY.              

1989- April-May, "Daily Dramas", Ruth Wiseman Gallery, Dallas, TX.

1986- December, "Paintings and Works on Paper", 500X Gallery, Dallas, TX. "Polly Little", North Lake Gallery, Irving, TX.

1985- "The Paint Show", AKAS, Hot Springs, AR.

1984- "Polly Little" Mattingly Baker Gallery, Dallas, TX.

1983- "Polly Little", Texas Christian University, Ft. Worth, TX.

1980- "Environmental Installation", ASA Gallery, Albuquerque, NM. 


Selected Two-Person and Group Exhibitions:

2022- WNYBAC, Members’ exhibition, Buffalo, NY. Hallwalls Member’s exhibition, Buffalo, NY. Spirit Show, The Raft, Buffalo, NY.

2021- “Kindred Spirits”, Raft of Sanity, Buffalo, NY. September, “6th Animal Kingdom, Fusion Art, Palm Springs, CA.

2017- “Summer in the City”, Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Hallwalls Members’ Exhibition, Buffalo, NY.

2016- Garden Exhibit, Hart Gallery, May, Buffalo, NY. Summer, Members' exhibition, Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY. Collect Art, Pop up Exhibitions, Buffalo, NY. October-January 2017, Fur, Feathers & Fins, Annmarie Sculpture & Arts Center, Dowell, MD.

2015- February, Big Orbit Gallery, Members’ Exhibition, Buffalo, NY. June, Garden Walk Exhibit, Hart Gallery, Buffalo, NY. July, Indigo Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Summer, Hallwalls Members' exhibition, Buffalo, NY.

2014- February, Big Orbit Members' Exhibition. July-August, Hallwalls 2014 Members' Exhibition. September-October, The Art Barge, Burchfield Penney Art Center. December, Wellspring, Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2013- July, Summer in the City, Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY. July-August, Hallwalls, Members’ Exhibition. September, Blue Mountain Gallery, NYC. December, Winter, Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2012- March-April, NYFA MARK11/2012, Marion Art Gallery, Rockefeller Art Center, Fredonia, NY. July-August, Lucky 13, Hallwalls. October, Community Supported Art, Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2011- July-August, Theme Bruleé, Hallwalls exhibition, Buffalo, NY.

2010- July, Summer in the City, Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY. July-August, Faster Pussy Cat, Spill Spill, Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY.

2009- Summer, Status Update, Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY. October-November, Indigo, Sentient Beings, Buffalo, NY.

2008- July, Hallwalls Members’ Exhibition. July, Summer In The City, Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2007- February-March, Ying/Yang, Insite Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Future Artemi, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY. July-August. August 2007-July 2009, Delish, 3-person exhibition, Buffalo, NY.

2006- July-August, It’s Not You, It’s Me, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY.

2005- February, 700 Redux, Hallwalls Members’ Exhibition, Buffalo, NY.

2004- May, Group Exhibition Bryant Street Studio, Buffalo, NY.

2003- January-February, America, America, You’re So Fine, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY.

2002- December, “Elmwood Gallery Walk”, Niagara Hall, 4 artists, Buffalo, NY.

2001- January-February, “Hot Art Now”, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY. June, “Invitational”, El Museo Francisco Oller Y Diego Rivera. “Convergence 2001: On Canvas”( 4 painters), Carnegie Art Center, Tonawanda, NY.

2000- January, “Blockbuster”, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. June, “Feminists in Art”. El Museo, Buffalo, Members Gallery, Albright Knox, Buffalo, NY.

1999- February, “Icons & Relics”, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. “Members Gallery”, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1998- January-February, “Black Velvet and Other Tactile Delights”, Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY. April, “Nature Interpreted”, 4-person exhibit, Medaille College Gallery, Buffalo, NY. June, “Invitational”, El Museo Francisco Oller Y Diego Rivera Buffalo, NY. September, “20x500”, 500 X Gallery, Dallas, TX.

1997- January-February, “Boxes, Books & Altars”, Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY. “Dallas Invitational”, Irving, TX. “Members Gallery, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1996- January, "2016: Time Capsule-Art of the Future", Hallwalls. “Members Gallery, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1995- January-February, "Wired", Hallwalls Gallery, Buffalo, NY. June, "Niagara Frontier", Kenan Center, Lockport, NY. March-April, "Little & Lavatelli", MWSC, St. Joseph, MO. "The Valentine Show", Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1994- May-June, "Niagara Frontier", The Kenan Center, Lockport, NY. July-August, "Paths and Byways", Kenan Center, Lockport, NY.

1994- January-February, "Selections from the Western New York Slide File", Buffalo Arts Studios, Hallwalls sponsored exhibit, Buffalo, NY. January-February, "Valentine Show", Arts Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1993- February, "Science Fair", Hallwalls Gallery, Buffalo, NY. March, "E.C.C. Faculty and Staff", Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY. May, "Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition", Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY. May, "X-Sightings", David Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, NY. May, "Niagara Frontier", Keenen Art Center, Lockport, NY. July-August, "Niagara Frontier”, Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY. October-November, "Polly Little, Duane Anderson", NCCC, Niagara Falls, NY.

1992- "Expose Yourself", Hallwalls Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1991- January-February, "Fire & Ice", Hallwalls Gallery, Buffalo, NY. June, "The Last Picture Show", Hallwalls Gallery, Buffalo, NY. December, "Many Voices", Calumet Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1990- January, "Landscapes", Gallery 44, Boulder, CO. May, "Members Exhibit", Artist's Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Gallery Artists, Ruth Wiseman Gallery, Dallas, TX. "Festival of Lights", Niagara Power Project. Niagara Falls, NY (1st place mixed media).

1989- February, "Innovative Realism", Clary-Miner Gallery, Buffalo, NY. "Tiny Things", Gallery 44, Boulder, CO. September-October, "Dialogues-Polly Little & Mark Lavatelli", The Artists' Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1988- February-March, "Snakes Alive & Otherwise", Dallas Zoo & Public Library. April, "Texas Art-A Celebration", Two Houston Center, TX. April, "The Plate Show", Abilene Christian University, TX. April-May, "Ancestral Glyph", D-Art, Dallas, TX. May, "City Faire", City Rotunda, Dallas, TX. May-June, "Visual Fictions", Paper Routes, Dallas, TX. June, "Expressions", Moss/Chumley Gallery, Dallas, TX. Summer, "Gallery Artists", Ruth Wiseman Gallery, Dallas, TX. September, "X 500X", Alumni Exhibit, 500X Gallery, Dallas, TX. November, "Juried Exhibit", Clary Miner Gallery, Buffalo, NY. December, "Self-Portraits", Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX.

1987- January, "Texas Realism", San Antonio Art Institute. May, "Figurative Messages", The Art Center, Waco, TX. October, "Gallery of Ghouls", South Dallas Cultural Center. October, "Texas Annual" Laguna Gloria Museum, Austin, TX. November, "Couples in Art", Sheraton Hotel Gallery, Dallas, TX. November-December, "10 x 10", Edith Baker Gallery, Dallas, TX.                   

1986- April, "Landscapes", Brookhaven College, Dallas, TX. Fall, "Texas Realism", T.F.A.A., St. Edwards University, Austin, TX. June, "Texas: A Celebration", Two Houston Center, TX. December, "The Mask Show", Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX.     

1985- September, "Critic's Choice", D-Art, Dallas, TX. October-November, "Texas Annual", Laguna Gloria Museum, Austin, TX. November, "Dallas Artists' Plate Show", Conduit Gallery. November 1985-January 1986, "Amarillo Competition", Amarillo Art Center, Amarillo, TX. "Figure, Fact & Fantasy", AKAS, Hot Springs, AR. "The Madonna Project", Theater & Still Light Galleries, Dallas, TX. December 1985-January 1986, "The Madonna Project", San Antonio Art Institute.     

1984- January, "The Gateway Gallery", Dallas Museum of Fine Art, Dallas, TX. May-October, "Women in the Mainstream", Women's Pavillion, Louisiana World Exposition, New Orleans, LO. August-September, "Visual Dialogues", Polly Little & Mark Lavatelli, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX.

1983- February-March, "AMST II", Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX. May-August, "17th Annual", Art Museum of the Southwest, Midland, TX. "Art in the Metroplex", Texas Christian University, Barbara Rose-juror.

1982- March, "Longview Invitational", Longview Art Museum, Longview, TX. May-August, "16th Annual", Art Museum of Southwest, Midland, TX. June, "A Dozen from Dallas", Watson de Nagy, Houston, TX. September, "The Lawndale Competition", University of Houston, TX. "AMST I", Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX. "New Work: Peter Julian, Polly Little, Roberto Munguia", Mattingly Baker Gallery, Dallas, TX. "Here & Now", Dougherty Arts Center, Austin, TX.

1981- March, "Constructions", Vertex Gallery, Taos, NM. "Actions-Reactions", Mark Lavatelli/Polly Little, Haggar Gallery, University of Dallas, TX. "Amarillo Annual Competition", Amarillo Art Center, TX, Juror-Charles Cowles.                          

1980- April-May, "Ford Foundation Grants Exhibit", University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.

1979- November, "References: Painting of a Sort", Downtown Arts Center, Albuquerque, NM. "Southwest Print & Drawing Exhibition", New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, juror-W.T. Wiley. "Exhibition: Contemporary Albuquerque Artists", Meridian Gallery, Downtown Center For the Arts, Albuquerque, NM, juror-Dianne Vanderlip.

1978- April-September, "Southwestern Fine Arts Biennial", Museum of Fine Arts, Sante Fe, NM. June-September, "Armory Show", Museum of Fine Arts, Taos, Sante Fe and Albuquerque, NM.


Grants/Awards: 1990, Niagara Power Project, "Festival of Lights"; 1989, Lift Fellowship, Arts Council Buffalo & Erie County, N Y; 1985, Critic's Choice, D-Art Gallery, Dallas, TX; 1983, AMST II, Art Museum of S. Texas, Corpus Christi, cash award; 1983, "17th Annual" Art Museum of S.W., Midland, TX, cash award; 1979, Ford Foundation Grant, Special projects, Installation, ASA Gallery, Albuquerque, NM; 1978, "Bright Streets", Community Cultural Affairs Mural Program, ABQ; 1983, Ford Foundation Grant, mixed media project, Albuquerque, NM; and 1983, Southwest Print & Drawing Exhibit, Las Cruces, NM, cash award.


Selected Public Collections: Numerous Private Collections; BM, Las Colinas, Irving, TX;  Preston North Financial Center, commission, 2 canvases 16' x 4' each, Dallas, TX; Atlantic Richfield Corporation, Las Angeles, CA; Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust, Houston, TX; Green Collections, Palace Aoyama Minatoku, Tokyo, Japan; The Club Corporation of America, Dallas, TX, Chicago, IL; Zale's Corporation, Los Angeles, CA; and Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., Dallas, TX.


Selected Reviews: The Dailey Public, 30 Minute Reviews, 2017; Buffalo News Magazine, August 2013; Buffalo News, Thur. May 30, 2002, p. C-5, "Capturing magic in the everyday", Richard Huntington; Buffalo News, April 28, 1998, p. C-6, "Three artists in the modernist vein", one making myth from experience”, Richard Huntington; ArtVoice, April 22-28, 1998, p. 12, "At Medaille: Four on Form", E. Licata; Buffalo News, Wed. Aug. 16, 1995, p. B-6, "Polly Little's Paintings draw animals into the human melodrama", Richard Huntington; Buffalo News, Fri. Feb. 24, 1995, Gusto, "High Voltage", Richard Huntington; Buffalo News, Thus. Feb. 17, 1994, "Arts Forced Togetherness", p. B5, E. Licata; Buffalo News, Thur. July 22, 1993, "2nd Annual Regional Artist Exhibition", p. B 8, Richard Huntington; Buffalo News, Sun. May 30, 1993, "Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition", p. G 1, G 5; Buffalo News, Fri. Sept. 8, 1989, "Little & Lavatelli", Richard Huntington; Dallas Morning News, Mon. Apr. 24, 1989, "Expatriates Return", Janet Kutner; Dallas Observer, Thurs. Dec. 8, 1988, "Self-Motivation", Charles Dee Mitchell; Dallas Morning News, Sat. Dec. 3, 1988, "Art Takes Many Forms.", J. Kutner; Waco Tribune Herald, "Using Artwork to Tell Stories", Ap.10, 1987, Carl Hoover; Dallas Morning News, Sat. Oct. 19, 1985, "The Message was Madonna", Janet Kutner; Dallas Times Herald, Wed. Feb. 29, 1984, "Expressions: Artist takes a Somber View of Human Condition", Bill Marvel; Artspace, Winter 1983-84, "Polly Little at T.C.U.", M. Thistlethwaite; Dallas Times Herald, Jan. 19, 1982, Critic's Choice, Bill Marvel; Dallas Observer, Jan. 28-Feb. 10, 1982, "An Art Jammed January", D. Mitchell; Artspace, Spring 1982, "New Work at Mattingly Baker, Dallas", A. Govenar; Artspace, Spring 1981, "Constructions-Little, LaFon and Valente", E. Spacek; "References: Painting of a Sort", pp.66-68, "Women in the Mainstream", pp.55-56, Artspace, Southwestern Contemporary Arts Quarterly, Winter, 1980; and Albuquerque Journal, Nov. 11, 1979.

(Source: Biographical information supplied by the Artist.)