Madeleine Palmer is a Melbourne based painter, who gained her Bachelor of Fine Art Honours in 2022 at RMIT.
Palmer’s work seeks to gently unpick assumptions about reality by exploring the tenuous state of mankind’s disturbance of the natural order in the anthropocene; It sits in a place between benign and malign, beautiful and grotesque, dissolving the borders between fantasy and reality. By imbuing quirky forms with an energy that speaks to the essence of fecundity, her subject matter acts as a vehicle for talking about growth, movement and change in the natural world. The work seeks to escape the confines of stillness and rather seeks to capture and convey a sense of vital energy.....an unstill life.
- 2022 Solo Exhibition - ‘Biomorph’, Montsalvat Arts Centre
- Finalist - Environmental Art and Design Prize, Manly Art Gallery and Museum
- Semi - Finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize
What medium do you work with, and why have you chosen them?
As best described by Isabelle Graw, "paintings address us in sensory terms". I am drawn to this medium for its "ability to deeply penetrate our "innermost feelings," far exceeding the power of the spoken word." Graw, I 2018, The Love of Painting: Genealogy of a Success Medium, Sternberg Press, Berlin.
How does your artwork get from initial concept to exhibition stage?
My process begins with sourcing and curating a large portfolio of photographic images of natural phenomena. Once I have established the subject matter, I apply a process I've developed for distorting the digital image using Photoshop to create complex imagery of new biomorphic forms and personifications. This revealed new rhythms, energies and movement. This process takes the place of preparatory drawings, it is where the general structure of the painting is determined. The emerging paintings sit in responsive rather than mimetic relation to the source imagery, with the embodied and relational dynamic of painting driving the outcome. A technical and traditional painting background underpins the foundation of my practice, drawing on the epochs of painting history. Using oil paints, medium and beeswax on canvas or board, the work is led by intuition to create a physiological resonance and vitality. The mark making process deliberately utilises dry brush work with old, stiff brushes as well as wet on wet paint application. I incorporate taches using soft round brushes and scumbling using rags and medium.
Can you tell us a little more about your creative working environment/studio?
My light filled studio is located in Warrandyte, surrounded by the colours and shapes of my bushland setting, close to state parkland. My practice is inevitably inspired by my surroundings as well as the changing seasons.