A Room With A View 2

Tom Palin
View Two, 23 Mathew Street (17th January –9th February 2008)

Reviewed by Amanda DeAngeles

Painter, art historian, and lecturer Tom Palin opens the European cultural year with a large body of work at an independent gallery in the heart of the city of Liverpool.

View Two Gallery has launched its exhibition programme for the year 2008, so what better time than now to collect a brochure and peruse the gallery at your leisure?

Gallery owner Ken Martin, himself an artist and an architect, has an instinct to bring to the fore the most diverse, interesting and talented artists around. Works are exhibited on three floors, but the gallery’s gem is a bright, top-floor, almost square room, set beyond a small bar area.

This space first came to my attention when invited to attend an evening of acoustic music. I was exhilarated to find a sanctuary from the usual ground-level chaos of one of the busiest nightlife areas of town, and have attended many such events since. Soon, a regular change of exhibits and artists (both local and international) became familiar names. Matthew Wilde and Mike Absalom come to mind for their works centred on the European City of Culture theme.

Tom Palin, from across the Mersey in Wirral, uses predominantly oil on board or canvas. Aside from a few, brightly coloured works with acrylic, he has used layers of oil to add pitted features to what is already there in form. Although most of the phenomenal, sixty-seven works for this solo exhibition are small paintings, with a room to view a room inside or outside, no single work is an obvious cliché of Liverpool per se.

A prolific artist, Palin shows light in muted colour, and very much stamps his own style over endless features represented or repeated in many of his works. Lamplight, windows, landscapes, and ‘Masquerade’ - a large work - encapsulate elements of his other paintings.

Vertical and horizontal lines, along with invisible edges fabricated in the viewers mind seem to mix abstract with fantasy and whim in a dreamlike manner.

He has an obvious sense of humour in showing a tiny work - ‘The Van’ - next to his largest painting ‘From the Van’, bringing together a grounded romanticism. Look out for some optical illusions.

All works are available to purchase from the gallery.

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