Improper Slope – A Documentation by Rich Gilligan (edition of 300)
To accompany the NYC opening of cement sculpture artist Max Palmer’s first solo exhibition – Improper Slope – a full-color 32-page publication of the same name will be printed in an edition of 300. The booklet showcases images by renowned photographer Rich Gilligan from multiple sessions he spent documenting Max in preparation for the exhibition, as well as a conversation between the two individuals further detailing the sculptor’s creative process.
All 300 copies will be hand-numbered and signed by both Max Palmer and Rich Gilligan. The
book will be available for sale at the show opening on May 4th, as well as select locations
Rich Gilligan is an Irish-born photographer known for his raw approach to portraiture and
fashion, with a style that sits between classic reportage and fine art documentary photography. His photographic roots stem from skateboard culture, having shot for international skate publications for more than a decade. This experience led Rich to his award-winning book DIY – a collection of landscapes and portraits of life in illegal D.I.Y. skate parks worldwide.
Rich’s photos have been widely exhibited in numerous group and solo shows worldwide. He was awarded the 2013 Showcase Photography Award from the Gallery Photography, Dublin for emerging talent in Europe, as well as having been recently selected by Time Magazine as one of the top nine photographers to watch from Ireland.
Conversation with Max Palmer and Rich Gilligan, March 26 2017
Rich Gilligan: How do you start? Do you see something and say, “I want to take a photo of that so I can paint it?”
Max Palmer: No, invariably there’s a lot of editing. A snapshot camera is a way to record things that may one day become part of a painting. Do you think that as well?
RG: I might be working on a subject—it can be made up, come from another painting of mine, or another artist’s work. I find a way to translate it into my own experience. Often I look at my paintings and I don’t know if they feel like the present day, if the time that I’m living in now is actually the time that I’m painting.
MP: I don’t think of the present day as being that important to depict. A painting becomes interesting when it becomes timeless. Like in these photographs of the fishing boats I took through a telescope, stripped away of context, of shoreline, of city; the boat is a primal shape, a vessel that could be from long ago or right now.
RG: The boat is a massive metaphor in this part of the world for arrival and all that implies, and as a means to flee. But at what point is the subject not the subject anymore? When does it stop being men in a boat?
PD: The photograph is a way of remembering shapes. It’s not so much about the people in the boat, but what a strange phenomenon form is. It depends on what type of artist you are. As an artist you have been quite rigorous in some ways, but in other ways, there’s room to drop something else in there.
CO: Yeah, funny. I think it’s an exit point. When you feel everything starts to get a bit claustrophobic, as in life, you find ways for things to be exciting and not so predictable. Sometimes you just have to kick in the door and physically move the paint differently. I had to make that decision not so long ago in order to move forward. Essentially the problem wasn’t with the work, if I may be the judge of that. The problem was more with me. I felt frustrated. Some people would say, “But everything was going so well.”
PD: That’s not really the point. I could make paintings a lot like others I’ve made, but I’d get bored quickly. I’m beginning to learn that it’s important to have a lot of time to come to terms with a painting. It’s not so much the hours making it, but the time allowing it to be ready.
O: Yeah, funny. I think it’s an exit point. When you feel everything starts to get a bit claustrophobic, as in life, you find ways for things to be exciting.