Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is proud to present Orchids of the Anthropocene, Marilla Palmer’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Palmer’s work is a celebration of the natural world and a reminder of the delicate balance between nature and human creation. "I want to turn everyone on to the absolute gorgeousness of the natural world around us. Art is my tool," says Palmer. The title of the exhibition refers to the Anthropocene era, a term used to describe the current geological age - marked by significant human impact on the environment. She seeks to capture the sensitive equilibrium that we as humans must navigate, spotlighting the beauty of nature in the midst of this complex relationship.
As a teenager, Palmer ran away to a Greek island and saw something “so beautiful and rare it was mind blowing and life changing.” A single, wild orchid was growing on a hillside above a deserted beach. Although small, this moment changed her life and perspective, especially once the Anthropocene era was officially named a few years later. The orchid symbolizes the scarcity of pristine moments amidst human-driven ecological destruction, and underscores the pressing need for environmental action.
Palmer’s process begins in her garden, cultivating the flowers that she’ll later capture in colorful watercolor depictions before they wither and fade. She’ll then press the flowers under piles of books to further preserve their delicate beauty. Finally, the pressed petals and leaves are added to the watercolor and combined with silk, sequins, vintage millinery velvet, and other manufactured materials cut and configured to look like natural elements. In Palmer’s work, human kind and the natural world coexist beautifully. Orchids of the Anthropocene invites viewers to take a moment to reconnect with nature and appreciate its beauty. As Palmer says, "Wildness is the preservation of the world. Go for a walk. Cultivate your gardens."
Marilla Palmer lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and has shown extensively throughout the United States. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carlsbad Museum and Art Center, and MoMA PS1, among other galleries and institutions. She received her B.F.A from the Philadelphia College of Art.