Alice Palmer is a multidisciplinary artist based in South Derbyshire and London.
At The Other Art Fair, King’s Cross, she presents ‘Hidden Dimensions’ - a body of work which includes Palmer’s knitted sculptures inside perspex boxes. These are pulled and stretched, and have been expansively thought-out to form her perception of higher dimensions, inspired by string theory. She is interested in the research of physicists which shows when we try to find the deep laws of the universe, the mathematics appears to be stretched and strained, searching for more space, and in order for Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics to be unified, it appears there may be multiple dimensions beyond what we see. In ‘Quantum Realities’ Palmer uses mirrors to create a magnified sensation of endless space.
Palmer is often inspired by what is happening in the world, or her life, at the time. At the start of 2022 she was dreaming of travelling and exploring colour around the world, looking at images of Aurora Borealis to inspire knitted colour hoops and textile wall hangings. Each one consists of over 200 strands of yarn, all carefully picked out and placed to create an array of colour which she hopes brings a sense of calm and wonder to the viewer.
Towards the end of February, when the war started in Ukraine, Palmer’s work changed direction. She started painting ‘Continuous Line Paintings’, contemplating all the lives effected by this devastating war. ‘Protection’, is an expression of the sheer bravery of the people protecting their country and mothers and children. Through curved painted line which merges and intertwines with draped yarn, she wanted to create a sense of connectedness, strength and unity.
In general, Palmer draws inspiration from a diverse range of subjects: the illusionary and mathematical aesthetics of polyhedra and topology; the theories of Physics; political matters and the music of David Bowie, to name a few.
Following completing a BA in Knitted Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art (1996-2000), her passion for furthering her knitting skills took her to London to study a Masters at the Royal College of Art (2005-07). At the Royal College of Art, Palmer specialised in Knitted Textiles, concentrating on developing unconventional ways of constructing knit.
Palmer has shown at various exhibitions. She has shown three times with The Other Art Fair, and was proudly picked by the Cynthia Corbett gallery for the Young Masters exhibition in 2014. She has also shown her sculpture at the Schwartz Gallery, Hackney Wick, for three consecutive years in a group show called Allotments, and presented work in East London at ‘East End Women: The Real Story’ exhibition.
At The Other Art Fair, in 2021, Palmer presented a body of work spanning from the start of the pandemic to the present. Due to restrictions and being unable to use machinery normally used, to make her signature knitted artworks, Palmer was forced to work in new ways. She soon started embroidering silk onto fabric and directly onto canvases. A slow and meditative process enabled Palmer to put across some thoughts around some polarities found as a result of the pandemic. ’Order & Chaos’ contemplates the confusion around changing government guidelines, and ‘Connectedness’ was created during each of the three lockdowns, meditating on this precious life and how connected we all are.
In 2021, Alice Palmer branched out into painting, being inspired by the art of Zen masters dating back from the 1600s to present - the monks would create 'Zenga' (painting and calligraphy). The main purpose was not for art's sake but to aid meditation. Palmer experiments in a similar way, creating art through meditation.
Earlier, in 2019, Palmer produced a body of work stemming from an interest in present day American and British politics. The seemingly never-ending Brexit debates influenced ‘Ad Nauseam’ in Black and white, and black and grey, and the artwork ‘Brexit?’. These pieces were inspired by the layers of complexity surrounding Brexit, the confusion of mixed messages coming from politicians and the incessant talk of ticking clocks with the extension of article 50 nearing.
Through her knitted tapestries, first exhibited in 2014 with the Young Masters Prize, she explored the way in which iconic artwork and sculpture is perceived today. How does the public interact with classic art in the age of the internet and social media? Does art lose its worth, and has commoditisation of art negated its aesthetic value? Do we appreciate these artworks as pieces of beauty and skill, or do we use them for our own amusement – to collect images for our own Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram accounts or to update our Twitter and Facebook status?
In 2016 she started an ongoing series entitled Photo-knit-montage.
One artwork includes the piece, Body Robbin, which combines digital photography with collage, via the medium of knitted tapestry.
A model’s body, stripped of its backless dress, is elevated on rocks in an image taken of Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire.
Within this artwork, Palmer explores female dualities. Concepts such as: the female body being celebrated, yet ridiculed; strength turned to fragility; the natural body being manipulated, and liberation being controlled and manipulated by the media.
Before moving into the art world, Palmer had a knitwear company, showcasing innovative fashion collections in London, Paris, Tokyo and New York, and won numerous awards including Textile Brand of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards 2013.