Tom Palmer

Tom Palmer
Chris Ryu

Tom Palmer

Tom Palmer is an artist, master of material and developer of unique processes, whose enigmatic work oscillates between the fine, conceptual and decorative arts, and collectible custom design. Drawing on traditions of craftsmanship and material experimentation, Palmer finds inspiration in artistry and techniques from around the world, threading this with a fascination with natural systems, phenomena and the ephemeral.  These he attempts to capture in materials which though sometimes natural, are more often profoundly unnatural and industrial in nature. He then combines these under conditions that force them to react with one another, thereby generating unexpected and uncontrived results.

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His work includes mirrors, furniture, objects, wall panels and screens, each having a mysterious quality that belies its functionality. A table sculpture created by splicing and engineering antlers becomes a candelabra with the addition of candles, and what appears to be a giant iris mounted on a wall morphs into a deep pool of reflective blue depending on the viewpoint of its convex form. The key to understanding Palmer is in his willingness to experiment without fear of failure. This gives him the freedom not just to pursue a vision but to take it to a new place. In fact the willingness to work and marry materials beyond known boundaries, to adapt or develop new techniques in order to do so, and blend these with a unique creative vision are the essential ingredients to greatness, whether that applies to an artist or an engineer.  Testament to Palmer’s approach are the extent of samples and experimental workings amassed in corners of his studio. This Aladdin’s cave contains evidence of days spent mastering water-silvering, or attempts to work out the optimum techniques to achieve optical effects with lenses and resins. There is an irresistible quality to every raw material or iteration of an idea in his studio, each representing a journey that has ultimately culminated in a sublime end-result. Recent work has focussed on reflectivity. Having mastered a combination of water-silvering and hand tinting and pouring resins Palmer has developed a series of mirrors which play with the notion of reflective appearance. A personal favourite is his huge cast resin lens Aegean Iris. Depending on the angle from which one approaches the piece it is read as an eye, a giant convex mirror or pool of deep blue. Drawing closer it is as though one is quite literally looking into an eye, finding yourself and your surroundings reflected yet altered through curvature. One is caught between looking into the piece and looking back at oneself.  Such an experience is reminiscent of the work of Richard Wilson whose work 20:50 (created by placing the viewer at the centre of a mesmeric mirrored space created with the use of sump oil) is the only permanent installation in the Saatchi Gallery in each of its venues since 1991. Palmer’s work is likewise mesmerising and confounding, offering an altered perspective on, and experience of surroundings, while above al being beautiful.  Guilded represents the full catalogue of work by Tom Palmer. Palmer creates just one finished piece, and thereafter we welcome enquiries for custom applications, often opening up the possibility not just for a custom size, but for bespoke composition and colouring tailored to the space for which the piece is destined. Measurements are provided where the item illustrated is available as seen. Otherwise please read the custom information for further details.

CV

EXHIBITIONS:

  • BRINK: Launch Exhibition, London 2017. Brink is an organisation devoted to sculpture and science.
  • ARTSY: Online retrospective “Material Reflections” 2017/18
  • COLLECT: International Fair for Contemporary Objects, staged at the Saatchi Gallery London, Feb 22-25 2018 with Guilded

 

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