MARILLA PALMER: Daphne's Night Out

17 April - 17 May 2014

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is thrilled to present Daphne’s Night Out, Marilla Palmer’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

[Through] her limbs a dragging languor spread, her tender bosom was wrapped in thin smooth bark, her slender arms were changed to branches and her hair to leaves; her feet but now so swift were anchored fast in numb stiff roots, her face and had became the crown of a green tree; all that remained of Daphne was her shining loveliness.

            - Ovid, Metamorphoses, 8AD

Marilla Palmer possesses a unique ability to see beauty in all of New York’s many disparate facets. In fact, her work is composed of a great deal of what many would never notice beyond a cursory evaluation of its identity as trash.  From that trash, and coupled with indigenous flora, Palmer deftly creates beautifully composite imagery that juxtaposes both the organic and inorganic worlds—worlds that most often clash and fight one another, both encroaching on the other’s territory. The product of this juxtaposition is a uniquely intimate portrait of Brooklyn, NY and of the environment Palmer calls home.

The fragility of the embroidery and pressed flowers she uses recalls the fragility of the nature that surrounds us all, and we are reminded of the ancient Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo. While fleeing the unwanted advances of the god of light, Apollo, Daphne called out in desperation to the god of the river to save her from Apollo and she was transformed into the Laurel tree.  In an effort to capture the character of each piece of citified flotsam and jetsam, Palmer embellishes, dresses up—in effect, the branches and bottles, buds and soft-drink lids with sequins, embroidery floss, and glitter. Works are simultaneously outrageous—encouraging closer and further examination—and delicately beautiful. Daphne’s legacy is not only honored in Marilla Palmer’s works, but also deeply lauded.

Marilla Palmer lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and has shown extensively throughout the United States. She received her BA from the Philadelphia College of Art. She counts the work of painters Jackson Pollock and Florine Stettheimer and author Joris-Karl Huysmans among her influences; she explains her work, stating, “artifice and nature are uneasy bedfellows, but this has always been where my interest lies.”