”I am interested in a lot of things at the end, where the road peters out, the edge between the civilised and where we have no control… the oceans and the sky.” (1)
Stanley Palmer’s rugged and beautiful landscapes are expressive, emotive and distinctively New Zealand. Using painting and printing techniques, he has developed a unique and personal style that captures the essence and colours of our natural coastlines, rural scenes and native flora. His work “configures as a deeply wrought, highly personal chart of Aotearoa New Zealand, mining the depths of his own recollections as well as tapping into historical memory and, beyond that, the geological past.” (2)
Palmer paints a New Zealand landscape redolent with memory and his works draw on each viewer’s own recollections. These remembered cycles of time and tide are the artist’s subtle inducements to recognise ourselves in the bays, hills and headlands he portrays. “Often focusing on the coastline – the border across which the colonisers and the colonised first tentatively merged – Palmer’s work is imbued with a sense of loss, yearning and disappointment.”(3)
Stanley Palmer has established himself as one of New Zealand’s most significant printmakers, employing his own unique method of printmaking that combines engraving and lithography, using bamboo rather than metal as an etching plate. “Engraving on a wooden surface is much easier as it can be done with tools rather than with acid, and requires less pressure to print. Less pressure allows more control of any ink applied directly to the plate and maintains the subtle texture of bamboo grain as an integral part of the design.”(4)
Stanley Palmer (b. 1936) has been exhibiting since 1958 and has worked as a full-time artist since 1969. Palmer currently lives and works in Mt Eden, Auckland. His works are part of public and private collections including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, City Art Gallery, Auckland and the Dowse Art Museum, Wellington.
1. Stanley Palmer, Artist Statement.
2. Gregory O’Brien, Stanley Palmer and the East Coast, East, Craig Potton Publishing, 2009.
3. Gregory O’Brien, Lands & Deeds, Godwit Publishing, 1996.
4. Pleasure in Print, Art News, Spring 1999.