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Neal Palmer was born in London in 1968 and studied at Trent University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours. Palmer has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
Palmer's contemporaries and the influences he garnered at art school set the tone for his painterly practice and his particular desire for experimentation. His work evolved from painting to printmaking and then to sculptural installation before diversifying further through employment as a prop maker and scenic artist in film and TV. Working as a puppet coordinator on the set of Spitting Image led Palmer to meet his wife and to embark on a path that saw him move to New Zealand in 1998, where he began painting and exhibiting in a full-time capacity.
As a painter, Palmer's concerns revolve around an exploration of the visual language and natural environment of his adopted country, combined with a strong desire to position his work in a history of painting that takes its origins from European Realism.
Despite various shifts in his work and circumstances, he has been consistently interested in blending visual languages and exploring how aspects of colour, texture, pattern and abstract forms inform each other. Of late, Palmer's particular focus has been to develop work that uses the illusion of a photographic 'depth of field' to allow images to slip between pictorialism and abstraction. Palmer's process creates a visual tension between the painting's surface and the illusion of space that is most evident in his large scale work, where the subject is scaled up to such a point that it suggests an existence beyond the physical bounds of the picture plane.
As Palmer has argued of his work. "I want my paintings to relate on as many levels as possible but with an overriding search for quality of mark-making that lifts the painting beyond the material world. It is this that drives me to paint."