Mt Eden painter utilises ancient art technique

Neal Palmer with two of his pieces on display in the NKB Gallery.
HUGH COLLINS / FAIRFAX NZ

Neal Palmer with two of his pieces on display in the NKB Gallery.

Auckland artist Neal Palmer has used an ancient technique on paintings in his latest exhibition.

Complex Rhythms includes art created by a process known as gilding.

Gilding's origins lie with the ancient Greeks and Egyptians.

"Essentially it's glueing metal to the painting but the sheets of metal are really, really fine," the Mt Eden artist says.  

He uses Chinese calligraphy brushes to create the image that the silver and other metal stick to.

"I love the solid reflective surface, the way light dances on them," he says.

Many of Palmer's paintings are of elements of the natural environment, such as a flax bush.

He says flax conjures childhood memories of playing hide-and-seek.

"There was sort of an emotional connection, I was drawn to the dramatic forms that you get in flaxes and pohutukawa trees.

"As a painter I find that when people reminisce in relation to a painting it enables them to get drawn into the painterly aspects of the work as well."

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The father-of-three says he's interested in creating a variety of sensual experiences through his work.

"For me there is a luscious beauty on the colours and surfaces of the flax bushes but also something slightly sinister, something hidden and powerful."

Palmer, who moved to New Zealand from the UK in 1992, says his work is not purely abstract.

"It's something that is connected to the real world."

He aims to utilise painterly ideas and styles, such as composition and texture, and put them into context.

Complex Rhythms is open to the public at the NKB Gallery at 455 Mt Eden Rd. He will demonstrate his gilding technique at the gallery on October 17, 11.30am, as part of Artweek. 

Artweek closes on October 18. See http://artweekauckland.co.nz/ for more information on this weekend's events. 

 - Stuff

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