Timothy Taylor Gallery is delighted to announce the first solo show in London by British artist Andrew Palmer. A series of new works will be shown in the gallery’s Viewing Room space.
Andrew Palmer’s intricately layered, contemplative paintings, take form through a slowly developed intuitive process. They result out of a consideration of both making and viewing as necessarily solitary, private exercises. Small in scale and indeterminate as images, these compositions are held in space without recourse to direct external referents. A sense of infinite space is made material with overlapping, dissolving and accumulated planes of colour and texture.
This exhibition reveals two divergent strands of painting technique in Palmer’s practice. Firstly, paintings on solid wood panels with smooth acrylic gesso grounds, the surfaces of which enable the development of illusionistic space, with many layers and painted framing devices. The second technique involves the excavation of the surface by scalpel and palette knife to generate a shallow relief. Suggestive of physical architecture, digital systems or ancient walls, structural gesso compositions are hidden and revealed by overlayering skeins of paint and varnish. In this instance the paintings operate in reverse. Their immediate physical materiality is broken down and on closer inspection more complex spatial geometric arrangements are revealed, underlying vestiges that may or may not be from earlier stages of the painting’s life.
Although determinedly non-representational in character, Palmer’s paintings frequently return us to the material of the earth. The artist cites Per Kirkeby and Peter Lanyon as influences, painters whose works evoke the feel or structure of minerals and the elements as opposed to their appearance. The Czech abstract painter František Kupka (1871-1957) is particularly important for Palmer. Like Kupka, Palmer enjoys using colour in a non-referential manner to create alternate realms where every constituent is in a state of flux. In these recent paintings gaseous passages of pinks and other cosmic pastel tones drift over more solid foundations of antique brown and ‘natural’ ochre. Contrasting registers conflate qualities redolent of both past and potential worlds, while unsteadying our perceptions of solid and void.
In Untitled, 2011, Palmer places a single painting on a handmade wooden shelf, thereby alerting its relationship to the wall. Alluding to a functional quality to be picked up and held in the hand. Evoking icons or tablets of divinatory potential. Taking this idea of displacement further Palmer also produced larger freestanding paintings that rest horizontally like tabletops on steel supports. Again the act of looking, in this case a downward gaze, has potential ritualistic function. In addressing these works up close, we engage even more intently and single-mindedly on the spectral vistas adorning their surfaces.
Andrew Palmer was born in 1979 in Salisbury, UK. He studied fine art at Falmouth College of Art (1998-2001), and completed his MFA at the Slade in 2005. Palmer first exhibited at Timothy Taylor Gallery in 2007 in a group show entitled Enter the Path, curated by Emma Dexter.