meet an artist mondayPalmer Earl’s lush and finely wrought paintings proceed with a matriarchal surrealism that hearkens to the past in order to reimagine the future. Each of her complex and symbol-rich tableaux references visual styles and languages of symbolism across art historical and folkloric traditions, especially the magic, mystery, and creeping misogyny of the late Medieval and Renaissance eras. Influenced by the opulent mannerisms of illuminated manuscripts, but increasingly frustrated at the suppression of women that followed Europe’s conversion to a male-dominated monotheistic religion, Earl looks further back for iconography with the power to inform a radical shift in perspective. Serpents (of course), symbols of fertility and motherhood, icons of incantation and power. What if, she posits in her bright, beguiling paintings, women had been viewed as equals in society this whole time? How very different might things be—and how much more interesting!

Palmer Earl

Palmer Earl: Snake Mother, Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 48×36 inches

L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?

PALMER EARL: I think all children are artists. I had always loved drawing and doing art projects at home with my mother and sisters who are all artistic but first grade is when I knew that I was an artist or that I could be. I had a talent for rendering and so my art teacher at school introduced me to a wonderful woman who gave painting classes to kids she found promising. I worked with her once a week through ninth grade and loved every minute!


What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

My work is about how ancient cultures affected the way women are treated today. I like imagining how different and less misogynistic the world would be if female deities were still worshiped instead of one male god.

Cosmic Egg

Palmer Earl: Cosmic Egg, Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 48×36 inches

What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I would probably be a carpenter or a landscape designer. I love gardening and building things with wood.


Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?

Originally, I went to a small liberal arts college in upstate that I didn’t like at all. I ended up leaving and getting my BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. I loved it. It taught me a lot about clarifying my artistic voice and how to have a thicker skin.


When was your first show?

The first show I was in was at a laundromat near my first apartment. Another artist in my building invited me to join. I was flattered to be invited and thought it was so cool!

Installation at Gallery 825

Palmer Earl: Illuminations, installation view at Gallery 825

When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?

I have a solo show up through June 30th at Gallery 825/Los Angeles Art Association called Illuminations. I am also having a solo show at Moorpark College Gallery in November, and I was recently at the Torrance Art Museum in Closer Now: Intimacy in a Rehabilitating Society, curated by Marcus Masaki Rodriguez.


Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?

I almost always have music on. How I am feeling and what the stage of the painting is determines what music. If I’m doing a speedy stroked one-colored background it may be Violent Femmes the Stones or something upbeat. If I’m doing more detailed areas maybe Bonnie Raitt, Fiona Apple or Tori Amos (such a cliché I know).


Website and social media handles, please!

IG: @palmerearl_art


Palmer Earl: Hatching, Gouache and gold leaf on paper, 8×6 inches









































































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