Henry Martin: I first encountered the work of Polly Morgan in 2009 at the exhibition The Age of the Marvellous in London. Here, in the crypt of the Holy Trinity Church designed by Sir John Soane, I turned a corner and was faced with Pyric Victors (2009) a sculpture that consisted of little dead birds, their beaks open, emerging from a a small, rickety coffin. Given the surroundings, it was impossible not to be stunned and impressed by a work that managed to be Gothic and contemporary, tender and violent, broadly iconic and still unique. Belonging to Morgan’s recent work, Metanoia evades the kind of “narrative” ascribed to works such as Pyric Victors, focusing instead on colour, form, and texture. Except for that title–Metanoia–and the icon of the serpent in both pagan and religious cultures. Both suggest that behind every snake, alive or dead, is a story waiting to be told.
Title: Metanoia. Date: 2016. Format/Materials: Jesmonite, Taxidermy Python, polyurethane. Dimensions: 18cm x 17cm x 40cm. Picture Credit: Polly Morgan.