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Kate Palmer - Riding Switch - Broadbent Gallery

  • There's a real pleasure in looking at these paintings. You can glide up and down the lines and swing back down the scratches and then shift and jump with the blocks of white that almost shift you through time like a layered flickering flim. Then you can walk back and let your eyes fly right across the canvas, or move forwards to find more intricate and complex ways of moving across the surface of the canvas.





    Riding Switch VI, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 114 x 242 cm


    Take Riding Switch VI for example. From a distance there's a euphoric shift and explosion of lines and that keep your eyes leaping about. I like the sort of doubled lines that I always feel are going to turn into meticulously drawn hills or mountains but never do. There's almost a cubist sense of something that I can't quite pin down - a scent that's just around a corner but I can't put my finger on. This keeps me looking and moving and then as you move in there's suddenly these surprising moments of depth in the canvas - like on the left had side of Riding Switch VI there's a black line and a sudden drop - and bang, you're off the edge of a cliff.






    This sense of movement seems to be part of the way the artist Kate Palmer would like you to experience the exhibition. The title 'Riding Switch' is a snowboarding term meaning to increse the difficulty, variety, and aesthetic value of ridng by assuming whichever stance is the opposite to the one preferred. She even herself says: "Sometimes the rhythm of my carved arcs is interrupted, rocks, trees or people needing a sudden response, a recalculation."




    Riding Switch 7, 200 x 240 cm


    There is certainly this feeling of movement a in the paintings, and also I always get this feeling of flickering flims with the sections that have been blocked out in white. There's also a sesne of music, and possibly musical scores and then in Riding Switch VII (above) I even get the sense of the city and the buildings lined up in front of each other - but also see through buildings - like you've got X-Ray eyes that are taking you past the skyscrapers. Then there's also the colour - while the works appear black and white the more you look the more you see and I began to find subtle greys that drift into browns. Some of the works also have busrts of what seems like fluorescent paint - like moments of something exploding.




    Riding Switch IV, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 114 x 353 cm


    For me what I like most is that sense that these pictures somehow convey the feeling of snowboarding and the snowy landscape of hills and mountains around you being glimpsed as you're skidding around. I love the way the paintings do this, and define their own way of communicating an experience, a communication that cannot be recreted in words - it's a brilliant visual experience, something that only painting can do.


    Review by Robert Dunt, practising artist and Founder & CEO of


    Riding Switch is on at the Broadbent Gallery until 21 April -