While David Palliser remains acutely intrigued by the reconciliation of the formal relations of scale, composition, the relating of forms and, particularly, colour, he seems overwhelmingly sentient to the historic legacies and ambiguities of the pictorial space. He often refers to the tense relationship he perceives between the backgrounds in his work and the imagery. He has remained intrigued by this perception for most of his working life. In referring to terms like image and background, he identifies an underlying sensitivity to a type of illusory space as a foundation in his work. Yet this may be as much a projected or backlit space as it is a deep space. The fusing of this aspect of space with abstract shapes, awkward and cartoon-style forms, and a classical sense of composition and technique prompts the initial uncertainty I always hold in looking at his work at first viewing – what is it?!Read More
Greg Pryor has remarked on Palliser’s work: ‘If we were to transcribe this world into sound we would be treated to the most cacophonous barrage as well as tiny sounds which disappear slowly beyond audibility.’ Palliser listens to a lot of improvised music:
‘There’s a formal resolve about something that is almost chaotic, … a sense of progression, … of things transforming to other things. It’s almost like sums, … cells of improvised music joined together. So there is a sense of spontaneity, but also of a formal join.’
While it’s difficult not to be aware of the individual eccentricity of the shapes and forms within Palliser’s work, there is always the accompanying feeling that they should exist together although little of his imagery is unambiguous. Palliser avoids confusion, and the possibility of nihilism, in his paintings by carefully managing the equilibrium of elemental aspects of painting: balance of colour, relative scale and composition. The world he presents is a strange environ, where perplexing imagery makes specific conclusions unreliable and even irrelevant. Yet Palliser’s work evokes trust: through the simple material substance of paint; its handling and ability to metamorphose.