Tom Polo (b. 1985, Sydney, Australia) uses painting and painted environments to explore how conversation, doubt and gesture are embodied acts of portraiture. Frequently incorporating text and figurative elements, his works draw upon acute observations, absurdist encounters, personal histories and imagined personas. An ongoing interest across his practice is the emotional and performative relationships between people within social, theatrical and psychological space.
Polo holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons. Class 1) and Master of Fine Arts from UNSW Art & Design. Since 2007, he has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Australia and internationally. Recent projects include The National 2019: New Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2019); I still thought you were looking, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2019); Art Brussels, Galerie Transit, Mechelen, Belgium (2019); Beyond Reason: exploring the logic of the imagination, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane (2018); of defence and doubt, Galerie Transit, Mechelen, Belgium (2018); Meditation on a bone: Albert Tucker beyond the modern, curated by Glenn Barkley, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2018); Primavera 2017, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, NSW (2017); (These Things) Tell Me More About You, Mornington Peninsular Regional Gallery, Mornington, VIC (2017); Looking at Me Through You, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney (2017); Emotional Patrol, STATION, Melbourne (2017); and Painting. More Painting, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, VIC (2016)
Polo was awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2015 and completed residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris and ACME Studios, London in 2016, Artspace, Sydney in 2017 and Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy, in 2018. He is represented commercially by STATION, Melbourne and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.