Philip Harlequin Palmer (British b.1963); 'The trees to which we bind our lives'; acrylic on line and wash board with integral glazed frame sculpted by the artist from wood, copper, steel and epoxy; signed lower right; painting size: 56cm x 27cm (22in x 10.5in); overall dimensions 99cm x 60cm (39in x 23.5in).
Artist's Statement: "This classically inspired work follows the idea of binding ourselves to another. The tree is symbolic of the other, its branches a metaphor for changes of direction and events. The female figure is Penelope, the tree Odysseus. A Trojan horse hangs from the branch to the left and from the the right is suspended a symbol of Odysseus fastened beneath the goat as he escapes from the blinded Cyclops. The sea represents changing fortune. To the left and right on the frame, the shields bear Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, simply a cycle of life.
My work explores the ‘human condition’, illuminating qualities of loyalty, love, courage etc and their opposites. My figurative style is a means to an end, used to convey the emotional content that I wish to project. At the forefront of my process however is the knowledge that a painting is simply pigment on a flat surface, and as such has its own aesthetic. I would hope to achieve in my work a surface beauty in which the abstract quality of the paint application with its variations of thickness and brush marks exists independently, but without loosing integrity complements the pictures subject. In the final analysis a painting is about aesthetic quality. To illustrate this point I would ask, is a painting of a gold cup of greater worth than a painting of a silver cup? Of course not. It is the representation rather than the object represented that establishes the quality of the painting.
In my recent work I have explored the relationship between picture and frame. Artists have struggled with the inevitable constraints of the rectangle for centuries. I have tried to create a flow between the two, in which the picture moves out into the frame and the frame in turn penetrates into the picture plane. This gives my work a more organic quality rather than the rude rectangular ‘guillotining’ of the commercially produced picture frame.
The subject of my work often recalls ancient Greek myth and historical periods of high drama. There are a number of reasons for this. I search out subject matter which is potent as a reaction against the sanitised nature of modern life in the developed world. In a world void of everyday mystery, I recall a time when caves led to the underworld and trees and rivers were alive with spirits. On a more facile level, I enjoy beauty, and find ancient costume and metalwork more rewarding than mass production.
In the physical act of creating I do not look for the imperfection of perfection. I will try to explain. With modern machinery it is possible to create an infinite number of ‘perfect’ objects. Flawless in their uniformity. Just look at the coins in your pocket for example. When I work I allow the accidental brush mark or chisel overcut if they enhance the aesthetic of the work."
CONDITION: Excellent, no damage or defects.
BIOGRAPHY: Although a very pleasant character, this artist is a little reclusive by nature and wishes only to provide biographical details that refer directly to his art.
Exhibitions: 1988 The Great Sheffield art show. 1988 The library Gallery, Sheffield University (one man show). 1989 Sheffield City Art Galleries. 1989 Holmfirth Art Gallery (one Man Show). 1989 The Yorkshire Artists Exhibition Ilkley (Spring). 1989 The tenth Kingfield art exhibition. 1989 Holmfirth Art Gallery. 1990 The Yorkshire Artists Exhibition Ilkley (Spring). 1990 Yorkshire Artists exhibition Barnsley. 1990 The Great Sheffield art show. 1990 Finegold contemporary art Hebden Bridge. 1990 The Yorkshire Artists Exhibition York. 1991 Manchester Academy of fine arts. Winner of the Edward C Oldham prize. 1991 The Great Sheffield art show. 1991 The Yorkshire Artists Exhibition Ilkley (Spring). 1991 The Yorkshire Artists Biennial, Scarborough. 1991 `East' National open art exhibition Norwich. 1991 The Yorkshire Artists Exhibition Ilkley (Autumn). 1991 `Britain's Painters 91' Westminster London. 1991 The eleventh Kingfield art exhibition. 1992 Manchester Academy of fine arts. Winner of the Cotton Bank Prize. 1992 The Laing art competition Salford City art gallery. 1992 The Great Sheffield art show. 1998 Derbyshire Open Art Exhibition. 1998 Buxton Museum & Art Gallery.
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