A line is a liquid thing. It can glide through the profile of a face, pool in the outlines of flora, open channels between bodies and objects. Hand and lemon, pattern and torso, male and female, foreground and background; all linked by the fluent, aqueous line. Images are vapor light, drifting from surface to surface. Images are falling leaves, gliding and merging into backgrounds. As a screensaver sifts through pools of photographs ad infinitum, postcard motifs cascade in perfectly randomized sequence. A torso seen on one canvas appears cropped and angled elsewhere, a piece of fruit once held in a hand is now tessellated onto wallpaper.
Palmieri’s works belong to a world without friction. His lines are vectorized, immaculate, their courses plotted in advance. Each plane is smooth as milk, each contour weighted, mapped and filled. If a brush mark displays an uneven edge, if a line should flick or curl, it is never a record of the action of a hand pressing brush and paint against canvas. Palmieri’s hand acts like a digital cursor — the labor of process is removed from view. Expressiveness is an attentively regulated effect. The canvas is treated not as wood and weave, but a baseless fabric upon which linear pictures materialize, a surface with all the non-physical lightness of a digital interface.
In an early scene from Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, the love stricken protagonist searches for the right words to describe the object of his affection:
He called her a melon, a pineapple, an olive tree, an emerald, and a fox in the snow all in the space of three seconds; he did not know whether he had heard her, tasted her, seen her, or all three together.
Orlando’s quest for the perfect description never settles into singular form. Instead, he evokes a vivid set of metaphors, each a spring and together an ebullient stream of images, so that the object of his love is never fixed but always in motion. Of course it is not only the image of love that remains in flux. From boy to woman, from the court of Elizabeth to a motorcar on The Strand, Orlando flows through bodies as well as through time. Orlando’s gender, time, and place may change, but every incarnation is only another version of the same fluid, sensuous character. And like Orlando, what is constant among Palmieri’s transitory leitmotifs is the character of the line itself: a weightless, melodious script that signs its name in every loop and curl.
Text by: Rosanna McLaughlin.
Contribution by: Domenico de Chirico.
Marco Palmieri - Orlando
Nicodim Gallery, September 12 - October 17