March 2 - April 16, 2005
Palmbach is noted for her highly original use of soft materials such as fabric and felt blankets to create surrealistic effigies of ordinary objects and domestic animals. Palmbach’s selection of materials and her reduction of the recognizable forms of the objects she references invert our perception of the commonplace to draw associations with the psychology of human anxiety, fear, and need for protection, comfort and nourishment. The viewer is struck by uncertainty of the familiar taking on unknown properties and attributes.
Featured in the exhibition are three installations: Cow, Hive, and Spell. Cow is a life-size representation of a reclining cow created from an armature and stuffing that is covered with a skin of patched muslin, which reveals a hand-sewn construction. With this monumental work, Palmbach urgently responds to concerns about current world events by finding form for a terrifying wartime story revealed to the artist by her parents who were children in WWII. Hive is a stack of milk crates painstakingly created from sewn blankets. The crates droop and sag as they tenuously balance upon each other awaiting reassignment in the cycle of consumption. Spell reveals a mise-en-scene of a mysterious gathering of cats. Each is constructed from patched fabric and stuffing and lazily surround a mat made of sticky tar. The creatures are inactive and indifferent, self-satisfied, lending a distinctively ominous air to the grouping.