“A boozy brunch between girlfriends, a meeting of coworkers over coffee, a couple splitting a glass of wine—conversations captured around the city, all serve as fodder and inspiration for Brion Poloncic’s work. In the quiet corners of Omaha’s local coffee shops and wine bars, Poloncic puts pen to paper, his ear tuned into the surrounding babble, creating art that he feels represents those around him and the experiences they discuss. But don’t expect a still life of women gossiping between sips of their Venti mochas. As a visual artist, author, and former musician, Poloncic is a man of many hats but always remains a creator of thought-provoking and idiosyncratic work that paints middle America in a psychedelic wash. “I’ve always fancied myself an artist,” Poloncic says. “My art is an affirmation of my peculiar skill set, and it just so happens to make me happy. It’s my own blend of therapy.” It was through chance that Poloncic was first bitten by the creative bug. After he didn’t make the baseball team, he traded mitts for guitars and started writing music. A fan of everyone from Pink Floyd to Johnny Cash, he parlayed his early love for listening to his parent’s records into seven albums, all released under the moniker “A Tomato A Day (helps keep the tornado away).” A prolific songwriter, his discography is filled with character and colorful song titles, including ditties like “You Little Shit” and “Weirdo Park.” For Poloncic, music wasn’t enough. He needed to sink his teeth into his next artistic outlet. So when a friend needed help setting up an Iowa art studio, he asked Polonic to draw pieces that illustrated his career. With no formal training or experience, unless coloring backpacks with magic markers counts, he dove in. Two years later, Poloncic sold his first piece at a gallery in Lincoln. He has also shown work in Omaha and Kansas City and has a collection represented at Gallery 72, all those diploma-yielding pros be damned. “My art isn’t constrained by my knowledge or training, and I think this makes me naturally less critical of my work,” Poloncic says. Filled with abstract shapes, haunting faces, and stark use of color, his off-kilter yet original drawings mirror the tone of his written work. Through The Journal of Experimental Fiction, he published his first book Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics in 2012, following this up in 2014 with his second printed work On the Shoulders of Madmen. Both explored concepts of the subconscious mind, and the novel he is currently working on will follow suit. “I’ll be surprised if anyone can read it,” Poloncic says. “It’s got no characters, no story arc, and isn’t about anything in particular.” And he admits this is his niche, comparing his art to improvisational jazz or free-style rap where “things just happen.” For whatever he’s working on, he says the hardest part is just getting started. Once that happens, everything else just falls into place, and if he can’t get over a block, he always has another craft to turn to. “If I stumble off the creative wagon with drawing, I get back on with writing and vice versa,” Poloncic says. “As you work on one, the other comes right along with it."
Sean Robinson, Omaha Magazine, March/April 2017
"Poloncic, a musician and author also, is deliberately withdrawn and elusive. Choosing not to participate in the artist talk, he lets his obscure statement and symbolic, abstract work speak for itself. He is at his most revealing when he writes, “following your dreams is like climbing up, hanging on, and riding the bucking bronco.” And crash landing as well, as his most forthcoming trademark cryptogram, “The Journal,” fairly screams its headline, “Schizophrenic.” True to form, as with his other pieces, the cipher for encryption remains hidden up his sleeve…….Poloncic’s world is puzzling, psychological and paradoxical, on the one hand Poloncic bares his troubled soul to the viewer only to overwhelm one with a myriad of iconic imagery and text messages virtually impossible to decipher in their mazelike patters…………..Furthermore, while Poloncic’s art in emotionally charged, it is also intellectually stimulating and aesthetically pleasing. His meticulous, almost obsessively drawn geometric and organic topography resemble pictographs with symbols both familiar and unfamiliar, especially in his “Untitled “ series of two inks on paper and his four variations of “Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics,” 1-4 which in spite of their separate iconography are united by one visual motif, a wide-eyed, open-mouthed figure in fear and pain………This image dominates Poloncic’s title piece, “Xanthous Mermaid Mechanic,” split as it were into two symbolic, blue and red extremes of the same coin or personality and a lot of stream of consciousness text including: “In space lit dimly by xanthous suns and small, sallow fireballs…but God is here now.” This is either a mixed message or a balanced one, but not so in Poloncic’s most overt piece, the aptly named “The Journal.” In this darkest work, even the banner headline “Schizo-phrenic” is split as is what may be its muse or source, the words “love-affair” which are embedded in a paisley-like flower in the center of the canvas. The artist leaves little further doubt as one of the many entries in his journal says “I read schizophrenia was a choice to take the high road. I feel it might be a low at best, terror at worst.” And perhaps a final word, “I’ve been hurt,” written to be legible when held up to a mirror, another sign of a doppelganger or double. Judging by the above, art is also a form of therapy for Poloncic, a way of keeping “it” together if not a cure-all. In “The Journal,” there is a direction for the viewer, “Enter here” but nowhere is there an exit, presumably for the artist as well."
- Michael J. Krainak, Omaha City Weekly
"The works by Brion Poloncic are very interesting visual journals. They require some time to view and more importantly to read. His art is usually black and white and are usually, large presentations. They are a pleasant addition to any collection. He has much to say and is not done yet!"
- Dean Settle, Open Studio, Lincoln, NE
Curator Lincoln Outsider Art Festival
"Brian Poloncic has created a group of work which draws on the surrealism of Joan Miro and Andre Breton infused with text which serves as alternately stream of consciousness writing, journal of days, and glyph of Poloncic’s own invention. Sincere and full of information, Poloncic’s work is deeply personal and imaginative."
- Sarah DaCorta, Omaha City Weekly