Polly Thayer (Starr) Flowers
Polly Thayer Starr’s treatment of flowers was both tender and monumental, and included close examination, multiple experiments in perspective, and keen perception. Starr reveled in the irises and zinnias of her mother’s garden in Hingham, Massachusetts. Her early graphite and charcoal drawings gave way to rich pastels of white gladiolas. She examined tiny pea flowerets under her jeweler’s loupe. Some flowers were fully formed and lavish, while others were abstract in lines and planes. They share a manifestation of light and fleeting, miraculous essences. At the age of 87, Thayer undertook one of the most precise and poetic projects of her career, a sequence of pencil drawings depicting the life cycle of the thistle. In more than two dozen pieces, all drawn directly from nature, no shadow falls between vision and reality: they are equally literal and metaphysical.