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Tom Polo: biography

Portrait by Maja Baska

CV Tom Polo

Born 1985 Sydney, Australia
Lives and works in Sydney


2009-11 Masters of Fine Arts (Research) – College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales
2002-11 Bachelor of Fine Arts – Painting (Honours Class 1) – College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales

Selected Solo Exhibitions


I still thought you were looking, Roslyn Oxley Gallery, Sydney

2018 of defence and doubt - galerie Transit Mechelen

2017 (These things) tell me more about you, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington
Emotional Patrol, STATION, Melbourne

2016 Recent Positions, STATION, Melbourne
What Goes On Here, Tom Polo for Spectrum Now, Art Gallery of New South Wales

2015 The fool faces sideways, STATION, Melbourne, VIC

2014 Even the best of us, STATION at Spring 1883, The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne
Spring 1883, The Hotel Windsor, STATION, Melbourne

2013 Ways, KALIMANRAWLINS, Melbourne
Many Hands, West Space, Melbourne
Future Figurative (New Personas), Gallery 9, Sydney

2012 GESTURES AND MISTAKES, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne

Hit & Miss, Parramatta Artists Studios, Parramatta, NSW

2009 The 2009 B.E.S.T Contemporary Art Prize, MOP, Sydney
One-Liner or Suggestions for Conversation in Social Situations, Firstdraft, Sydney

2007 An Excessive Aesthetic, Firstdraft, Sydney


Selected Group Exhibitions

2019, The National, Art Gallery NSW, Sydney

2018 STATION, Sydney, 36-40 Queen St, Woollahra, Sydney
Meditation on a Bone, Heide Museum of Modern Art, VIC (2018);

2017 Primavera 2017: Young Australian Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Masters of Three Worlds, COMA, Sydney

2016 Narratives, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
Green Eyed Monster Eating Its Own Tail, Art Month Sydney

2015 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging) Exhibition, Artspace, Sydney
STATION at Spring 1883, The Establishment, Sydney
BWTAS Finalists' Exhibition, Brett Whiteley Studio, Sydney
Che Cosa, Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong, NSW
West Space Annual Fundraiser, West Space, Melbourne
Façade, Parramatta Artists Studios at Artereal Gallery, Rozelle, NSW
Glazed and Confused, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney

2014 Art Bar curated by Lara Thoms, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney The List, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, NSW
Aspy Kids, Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide
Ready Player One, Station, Melbourne
Contemporary Fiction, Breezeblock, Sydney

2013 Art & Australia Collection 2003-13, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney
The NSW Visual Arts Fellowship for Emerging Artists, Artspace, Sydney Face Off, Wellington St Projects, Sydney
Sedition, BUS Projects, Melbourne
Extended Operations, KALIMANRAWLINS, Melbourne
As Above, So Below, MOP Projects, Sydney
Uncertain Pastures: Matthew Hopkins and Tom Polo, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne Kenneth Biennale, TCB, Melbourne

2012 Time & Vision: New work from Australian Artists, The Bargehouse, London, UK Facial (with Matthew Hopkins & Mary McDougall), TCB Art Inc, Melbourne As Above, So Below, Alaska Projects at Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, US

2011 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney2
I was here, The Lockup Cultural Centre, Newcastle, NSW
Trophy Wife, curated by Sarah Jones, Death Be Kind, Melbourne
For The Lulz, Tin Sheds Gallery, University of Sydney, Sydney
Dot Dot Dot, curated by Lisa Radford, Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore, NSW

2010 Friends, TCB Art Inc, Melbourne
Campbelltown Arts Centre Project Room, Melbourne Art Fair 2010, Melbourne Breadcrumb Winner, PLATFORM, Melbourne
SafARI, curated by Lisa Corsi and Danielle Hairs, Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney No Right Turn, Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest, Penrith Territorial Pissings, Utopian Slumps Gallery, Melbourne
2009-10 I AM THE MESSAGE, Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore, NSW

2009 Why do we do the things we do, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth
No Identifiable Culture, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney
This is what the edge of your seat was made for, Boxcopy, Brisbane 2008 Current: Sculpture Projects in the River City, Parramatta, Sydney
The Year of the Bird, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, (w/ David Capra)

2008 Laith McGregor, Tom Polo, Emily Portmann, Jackson Slattery, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney 2007 Winners are Grinners (December Show), Gallery 9, Sydney


Awards, Grants, Prizes, Residencies

2017 Sir John Sulman Prize (finalist), Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
2015 Creative Fellowship Fund, Parramatta City Council, NSW, winner
The NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging), Artspace, Sydney, finalist
Brett Whiteley Traveling Scholarship (winner)
2014 The Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize, National Art School, Sydney
2013-14 Parramatta Artists Studios, Parramatta, Sydney
2013 The NSW Visual Arts Fellowship for Emerging Artists (finalist)
Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards – Visual Arts (finalist) John Fries Memorial Art Prize (finalist)
Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, (finalist)
2013 Hazelhurst Art on Paper, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery (finalist)
2012 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship (highly commended)
2011 Art & Australia/ Credit Suisse Private Banking Contemporary Art Award (winner)
Australia Council for the Arts Skills & Development Grant - London Studio Residency Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney (finalist)
The Lockup Cultural Centre, Newcastle, Sydney
2010 QANTAS Spirit of Youth Award - Visual Arts (finalist)
Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown (finalist) Parramatta Artists Studios, Parramatta, Sydney
2009 Australia Council for the Arts Skills & Development Grant - London Studio Residency (2011) Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) for Postgraduate study, College of Fine Arts, UNSW Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown (finalist)
The 2009 SMAC Awards, hosted at Gallery Barry Keldoulis (finalist)
2009 The Blake Prize for Religious Art, The Blake Society, National Art School, NSW (finalist) Queen Street Studios at Fraser Studios, Chippendale, Sydney
2008 Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Campbelltown Arts Centre (finalist) Churchie National Emerging Artist Exhibition, (finalist)
2007-08 Parramatta Artists Studios, Parramatta, Sydney



Redlands Grammar, Sydney, Australia
Terrace Towers Group, Sydney, Australia
Joyce Nissan Collection, Melbourne, Australia
Private collections in Australia, United Kingdom and United States


Curatorial Projects

2015 It's funny, like HA-HA funny, January Artbar, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW
2012 There's a hole in the sky, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, Sydney
2012 Anything, Everything and One Other Thing (Parts 1-5), ALASKA Projects, Kings Cross, Sydney
2011 YES I CAN/NO CAN DO, Blacktown Arts Centre, Blacktown, Sydney
2009 I'm worse at what I do best, Parramatta Artists Studios, Sydney, Sydney


Selected Bibliography

2018 'Critic's Guide: Sydney',, by Sarinah Masukor
2017 Pesa, M., Tom Polo: Emotional Patrol, Art Almanac, July
2016 Preston, S., Get to know Tom Polo,, Broadsheet Sydney, March
Taylor, A., Artist Tom Polo will paint live at The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Morning Herald, March 2016, artist-tom-polo-will-paint-live-at-the-art-gallery-of-nsw-20160203-gmhrxl.html
2015 Forrest, N., Tom Polo wins 2015 Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship, scholarship ,BLOUIN ARTINFO August
Rugendyke, L., Artist Tom Polo wins 2015 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, http:// art-scholarship-20150813-giyjac.html, August
2014 Forrest, N., Vernon Ah Kee and Tom Polo Win 2014 Redlands Art Prize, BLOUIN ARTINFO Australia, April
Galvin, N., Tom Polo eavesdrops for arts sake, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia. August 4
Miller, C., 50 Things Collectors Need To Know (Cool Hunter Predictions), Art Collector Magazine,
O'Sullivan, J., Spring 1883 is the enticing boutique art fair down under, spring-1883-is-the-enticing-boutique-fair-down-under-79214, August
Raschella, A. Installation Art Comes to South-West Sydney, ABC News,
2014-10-04/installation-art-comes-to-south-western-sydney/5790918, Oct
2013 Barkley, G. Emerge Profiles: Tom Polo, Artist Profile Magazine, Issue 23, pp 48 – 51
Britton, K. Review: Tom Polo, Future Figurative, Raven Contemporary, July 29
Frost, A. An Artist Walks Into A Bar, Art Guide Australia and show/an-artist-walks-into-a-bar... August
Frost, A. The A-Z of Contemporary Art, ABC Television, Australia. First Aired, 12 June
Frost, A. What makes us connect with an artist?, Australian Culture on The Guardian, 22 July
Rule, D., In the galleries, The Age, August 24, weekend-in-the-galleries-20130823-2sfqe.html
Stanton, E. Great Western Drawing, Runway - An Australian Contemporary Art Magazine, Issue 16: Disappearance. Pg 86 - 89
2012 Gibb, S. Art & Australia/Credit Sussie Private Banking Contemporary Art Award, Art & Australia magazine, 2012, Volume 49 No. 4
McSpeeden, S. S&M, Un Magazine Issue 6.1, 2012, pg 82-87 3
Rule, D. In The Galleries, The Age, Melbourne, Feb 11, 2012 2011 Bentley, S., Tom Polo, New Planes, issue 1, 2011
Rolfe. D, People to watch, the(sydney)magazine Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 27, 2011, pg 42
Stein, M., Polo Opposites, The Blackmail, April Walcott, R., Tom Polo: A portrait of the artist, October, 2011, polo-a-portrait-of-the-artist/
2010 Frost, A. What's next? Australian Art Collector, October 2010, pg 124-125
Lerkenfeldt, L. Tom Polo interview, Un Magazine, Issue 4.1, July 2010
Lopes, S. Perspective: Steve Lopes on Failure, Artist Profile, Issue 10, 2010. Pg 96-97
O'Sullivan, J. NSW WRAP, Polo's Double Projects, Australian Art Collector, Issue 53, 2010, pg 246
2009 Cover Design "The Best Thing Ever', commissioned for Campbelltown Arts Centre 2009 catalogue Costantino, T. Why do we do the things we do review on The Daily Serving 2009/09/why-do-we-do-the-things-we-do/
Cunningham, D M. The Best Thing Ever, in Artnotes, Art Monthly Australia, April 2009. Pg 57 Frost, A. Everyone a winner with an arts lottery, Sydney Morning Herald, November 20, 2009. Pg19 Frost, A. Being a success is overrated, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 22, 2009, p 9
Snell T. Show prises open the studio door, The Australian, August 25, 2009. Also appears at: http://,,25974870-16947,00.html
The Art Life, You have already won, November 14
Wolifson, C. Interview: Tom Polo for 'I'm worse at what I do best' in Das Super Paper, Issue 10
Featured on Vasili Kaliman's Art Patrol, september-24- october-2009.html, October 8
Von Sturmer, John. West is When is West: A Trip Report, Art Monthly Australia, Oct 2009. Pg 21-23
2008 Frost, A. If I Could Have (Animal Art), Australian Art Collector, Issue 45, July 2008, Pg 308 - 309 'There's A Winner In You' series, Runway Magazine, Issue 10 Romance, autumn, 2008 pp.52-57
2007 The Art Life, Space is the Place,, Dec 14, 2007


Personal website Tom Polo