Pohl deals with subject matter in both the abstract and figurative realms, often combining the two to highlight the inherent antagonism between painting and photography. She depicts broken, fragmented, gestural brushwork, layers of paint in raw and expressive textures, all of which nod to the traditions of Abstract Expressionism. Esoteric compositions play with the relationship between the abstract and the figurative—for example, a Willem de Kooning-inspired background, cacophonous with colours and textures, is superimposed with an image of a parrot in flight in the first of 2012’s A Little Something Refreshing series. Pohl’s superimposition and blending of the two mediums mainly adheres to one of three techniques—photographing a painting, photographs enhanced by brushwork, or a painting rendered as the framework for a photographic element.
The uniqueness of Pohl’s practice is undoubtedly the confrontation between classical painting and the medium of photography—aesthetically reinterpreting the physicality of painting through the documentarian nature of photography. Subversion and dichotomy are consistent themes throughout her work, and she regularly examines the idea of subversive beauty—through idealistic paintings contrasted with a mundane object like a traffic cone or car tyre; or through photographs that exaggerate nature, and traditions of art history, through a romanticised lens, yet simultaneously present nature (and photography itself) as a wild, alienated, and estranged place for viewing. The surrealism of these depicted worlds is heightened by the apparent objectivity of the camera. Pohl, however, serves to highlight the clear and apparent staging of the artwork, probing the viewer to question the perspectives of both artist and viewer.
Examining the dialogue between fiction and reality within photography, Pohl often fragments the surface of an artwork in order to create a new layer of mark making, thus highlighting the different levels of illusion. By introducing particular elements (often the gradation of colors), she addresses the ultimate concept of the artwork as a manmade way of viewing (in this case, of viewing nature). Pohl’s interventions serve to redefine and subvert questions of reality, imagination, illusion, grandeur, and banality—redefining both painting and photography, and their relationship to each other, while doing so.