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Birds in Flight/Genes of the Universe
Gabriella Polony Mountain's work includes four major themes. The first three themes are clearly recognizable as the Cosmos, Nature, and Figural works with the fourth theme encompassing history, philosophy, and culture. In her life as an artist, Polony Mountain worked with many different medium including mosaics, weavings, sculpture, stained glass, and repousse. Repousse, or repoussage, is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is shaped by hammering the reverse side of a sheet a metal. On the other side, a low relief design is revealed. This copper repousse screen depicts two of Gabriella Polony Mountain's favorite themes: the cosmos which can be seen on the side entitled "Genes of the Universe" and nature as depicted on the side entitled "Birds in Flight." The panels depicting "Birds in Flight," highlight the movement of six birds, two are present on each panel. On the left panel, a bird dives downward toward a nest holding four eggs, another bird flutters below. In the middle panel one bird frolicks below a second bird perched upon a round floating object, perhaps a fruit or nut. The right panel echoes the left panel with one diving bird above and a dancing bird below. Large abstract and organic shapes dictate the composition of Polony Mountain's works. Circles, ovals, curvilinear lines, and fluidity of shape create a constant movement. The reverse side of the screen depicts "Genes of the Universe" and highlights the movement of three figures set against a backdrop of swirling lines and small circles. The figure on the left panel is confined to this panel alone and faces downward with arms embracing a circular object... a planet perhaps? The sole figure placed on the bottom of the screen moves freely between the three panels almost as if in a dance. The figure on the right panel floats between the middle and right panels. Each figure is adorned by a crown or halo emphasizing the cosmic nature of their being. The swirling lines create constant loops and ovals connecting the three figures to one another. This screen is but one example of Polony Mountain's skill with the repousse technique and her ability to create movement within an otherwise static material.