Silvia Poloto


Silvia Poloto has worked in a variety of media, including photography, sculpture, painting and video. She is a restless creative, who is always searching for a fresh visual language combining new materials and presentations. Elements of each of these media find their home in her current Wabi Sabi series, which combines paper collage (mainly poster ephemera) with painting and drawing. The resulting works are, on the one hand, incredibly quiet and subtle, with soft tone-on-tone dynamics and nearly-invisible passages of text barely coming through the layers. On the other hand, these works are also very bold, with strong contrast coming from her use of black, and a very spontaneous and physical process of building up and tearing back that is evident in the work. In her own words, Poloto explains: “This body of work is an examination of letting go – of attitudes, old beliefs, dreams and emotions, a clearing of all things unnecessary in order to strip bare to the essential. My method is process-based. Like the Abstract Expressionists, I work in the space between control and lack of control, to find a sense of potentiality and presence. For this body of work, I use paper as a primary medium – gluing and pulling the paper back leaving marks, which become the underlying structure of the painting. The nicks and scars left behind record the creative process, resulting in work that is imperfect and unpredictable, yet inevitable, with poise and strength of character. This body of work is also a metaphor for home–an empty space I created, inhabited by objects that I placed inside it. Because both my studio and my home sit right on the San Francisco Bay, I am also present every day to the expansiveness of sea and the sky, and the quiet breathing space these natural elements offer. I try to capture this in the Wabi Sabi series, creating works that are strong and spacious at the same time.”


Born in Brazil, Silvia Poloto has been working in California for more than twenty years. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Italian American Museum, and the deYoung Museum, where she was an artist-in-residence. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad (including the United Arab Emirates, France, Spain, Jordan, Italy, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece and China, among others) and has been acquired by more than 80 institutional and corporate entities and by more than 900 private collectors around the world. She is represented by galleries in Portland, San Francisco, Park City, and by SLATE contemporary in Oakland. Silvia Poloto currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA.