A gold reading: Marcy Palmer’s book of gilded botanics
Weekend food for thought: Beauty isn’t frivolous. It’s not a luxury, but rather a restorative force, a way to reconnect with ourselves and the world around us. That’s the idea that inspired Marcy Palmer’s recent photographic project You Are Eternity, which she describes as “an antidote for personal and political crisis”. And if that sounds like the medicine you’re desperately in need of these days, a) we’re right there with you and b) we’ve got an art book rec you’ll wanna read on for.
Palmer’s award-winning work often touches on ideas of nature, beauty, and science. The pieces in her You Are Eternity series are made from plants and flowers that she forages locally, photographs, and prints on smooth, translucent vellum. After that, they’re hand-gilded in 24k gold leaf, and treated with layers of varnish and wax. The final images feel at once restrained and emotive, earthly and ethereal, gleaming and esoteric. Quite frankly, they’re gorgeous, and Palmer knows the power of natural beauty. Her project is driven by the idea that difficult times and tumultuous emotions lead a lot of us back to the beauty of nature, to the refuge of its aesthetics. If you’ve had a wild urge to go camping or fill your home with flowers recently, you might relate.
Palmer was also inspired by Anna Atkins’ botanical cyanotypes (aren’t we all!) as well as an interest in the sort of manipulated surrealist photography that takes the original image into the territory of the imagined. If you were lucky enough to see her series at the Griffith Museum of Photography in MA last spring, The Center for Fine Art Photography, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, or Claire Elizabeth Gallery in New Orleans, you know how the unique mix of influences and intentions plays out IRL. We’ve got pics here for the rest of us, and you can read more about the series in The Boston Globe, What Will You Remember, and Aint Bad (who also have a great interview with Palmer).
But most importantly: there’s a book! You Are Eternity, You Are the Mirror will be released this September via Yoffy Press. The limited-edition monograph includes Palmer’s gilded botanical photographs, handsomely bound in hardcover with french folds, and paired with Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran’s On Beauty. Pre-order yours now and you can look forward to bringing a little beauty into your life next month—and wouldn’t that be a welcome segue? Don’t forget to check out Palmer’s two limited-edition 20x200 prints in the meantime. They’re ready to be your boost of beauty right now.
With art for everyone,