Janine Polak's work contains materials that, much like our own bodies, contain incredible strength, yet extreme vulnerability. Glass stretched thin after melting in the kiln, slip-dipped high-fired porcelain, and tiny bits of jewelry-turned-hardware have all been explored in recent years. The process is the opposite of personification (making the non-human more human); she takes very human emotions, gestures, or relationships and distills them into an object, a sculpture, a frozen moment. Much like the body casts at Pompeii, preserved in a gestural moment, the work appears simultaneously fragile and permanent.
Born in Nebraska and raised primarily in Virginia, Janine Polak received a BA in Studio Art (Sculpture and Photography) and Economics from the University of Virginia, and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art, Department of Sculpture. She has exhibited throughout the US including at Essex Flowers, NYC; Brennan & Griffin, NYC; Equity Gallery, NYC; TSA NYC; Sculpture Space NYC; Scott Charmin, Houston, TX; and two solo shows at Sardine, Brooklyn. She has also exhibited internationally in Beijing, China, and Australia. She has collaborated on projects from installations to books that have been sold at PS1 Art Book Fair and worked with Black Cat Journal on a production for the BABZ fair in Brooklyn. She has attended multiple residencies in Iceland, China, and the US. She currently lives and works in Queens, New York.