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Polly Thayer (Starr) Mysteries

Polly Thayer (Starr)’s mysteries show her preoccupation with what William Blake, one of her favorite poets, described as “the qualities of seeing.” Starr’s mysteries show her skill at what Blake called “seeing through the eye,” which requires absolute attention, and involves entering into the thing seen, in search of its essence. Her mysteries depict common and familiar images in new ways, playing with light and color and moving towards abstraction.

We are somnambulists to a greater or lesser degree, but few are such contented ones that they have never craved for clarification of the deja vus, a light trained on the movement behind the thick scrim of the familiar, an awakened sense of the significance of a large whole that occasionally sweeps over them. I find there are secrets, certain numinous things, that seem to speak to me in a special sense, signaling in a language that compels decoding. To be faithful to this task demands absolute attention.”

~ Polly Thayer (Starr), “Why I Paint” (undated manuscript)

Crab Claw Metamorphosis. Watercolor on paper.

You never achieve what you want, but you’re always getting nearer to the essence. And that’s a search that’s all-important. To the extent that I have been able to enter into the secret of things, and to convey something of this experience to others through my art, I am deeply grateful.

~ Polly Thayer (Starr), 1952

Artwork for Sale