New York

Leigh Palmer

Sherry French Gallery

Leigh Palmer is among the best of the current crop of talented American realists at giving a vivid sense of place. As much about a specific mood and special moment as some particular locale, the scenes described in his recent paintings offer the viewer vistas for steady contemplation. Palmer, who lives and works near Plymouth, Massachusetts, creates work that provides a subtle commentary on the relationship between society and nature in the towns and small communities of New England. Concentrating on corners of rooms, he depicts parts of the house that afford views onto nature. The paintings inspire thoughts about the window as a structure mediating between indoors and outdoors, and as a metaphor indicative of the need to partake of nature while protecting oneself from being overwhelmed by it.

In December Afternoon, 1988, the coldness of the air is conveyed through the crisp light that permeates the visible expanse of sky. The scene is witnessed through the rows of window panes, which, with their rectilinear shapes, dominate the composition. On the narrow ledge before the window are three pears, a motif signifying the bounty of nature. The picturesque beauty of the scene is capable of nourishing the soul.

In Sun Porch with Lilies, 1988, Palmer manifests an ability to imbue both architectonic forms and objects of daily use with the poetic stature of symbols. Here, nature is embodied by the flourishing golden field that borders a house; the image seems to exist for the pure visual pleasure it affords.

Ronny Cohen