Archway Gallery debuts Annette Palmer's pandemic painting collection "North Sea Gulf Coast"
by Nickole Bobley, photography by Chris Spicks
(this article was originally featured in The Woodlands City Lifestyle Magazine)
How do we even begin to process our own displacement during the global pandemic? One way is to examine art produced by artists during that pivotal time. Created during the crucible of the coronavirus, celebrated artist Annette Palmer will give an artist’s talk at the opening reception of her new exhibition North Sea Gulf Coast at 6:30pm on Saturday, June 3rd at Houston’s Archway Gallery.
Like many during the height of Covid-19, Palmer, who is Scottish-born but now resides in The Woodlands area, suddenly found herself separated by a lockdown and an ocean from friends and family (some ailing and elderly). In this new collection of painted works, Palmer explores themes of yearning, distance, and connectivity. While Covid stress-tested reality in ways we had never experienced before, this artist contemplates her feeling of finally being at home in 2 places nearly 5000 miles apart—the common water between her two coastal ports serving as both a connection point and a physical divider.
In her semi-abstract land and seascapes, we glimpse her predilection for the beach towns of Gardenstown in Scotland and Galveston in the United States and ardency for the tempestuous sea that fills the enormous space between them.
“I paint vast open spaces, and am drawn to the energy of the sea,” Palmer explains. “It is the vinculum between land masses separated by thousands of miles. The ebb and flow of the tide is a rhythm which resets the beat of the heart, the body clock. Its vastness puts everything in perspective. We are small in the universe, yet connected and integral to something much bigger.” In many of her North Sea Gulf Coast paintings, Palmer incorporates twine and feathers from the respective coastal locations. In others, she adds gilding elements which emit a quiet but profound cheer. With the sea at her center, look for the ethereal otherworldly surprises she gifts us in her water thematic pieces and notice the point of view of these paintings as if one is in the water looking for the horizon line. When viewing the romantic celestial Dog Star, with its rich earth tones and metal flourishes, I was struck by my own global virus memory of everyone stuck in their own silos while finally having the time to go outside, gaze upward and marvel at the stars which are universal. “Distance isn’t just physical,” says Palmer. “It’s life and death, it can be lost in time, it can be spiritual.”
Growing up in a creative environment in Falkirk, most of Palmer’s teenage years were spent in the high school art department where she designed and constructed clothing, produced fashion shows and immersed herself in the Edinburgh and Glasgow music scenes. Palmer received her Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot Watt University. Upon graduation, she worked as a fashion designer and eventually started her own label in Singapore. Since 2006, Palmer has focused on drawing and painting. In addition to a lengthy international exhibiting history which includes solo shows at Houston’s Jung Center and The Woodlands’ Glade Gallery, she has also showcased her work in Dallas and in Santa Fe art expositions. Her curation work includes art galleries and exhibition spaces including H&H&8 and The St. Luke’s Hospital. Later, she served as the juror for the Sawyer Yards “Dreamscapes” exhibition and most recently for The Conroe Art League’s International Exhibition. North Sea Gulf Coast by Annette Palmer at Archway Gallery is not to be missed! It runs through July 5th.