For more than 35 years, Tom Palmore’s portraits of animals have exuded a distinctive combination of reverence for his subject and a masterful technical prowess. His ultra-real renderings of animals in oil and acrylic offer a unique, and often comical, juxtaposition of technical literalism and surreal, imaginative context—questioning the established conventions of photography and painting, especially as evident in the portrait genre.
Palmore’s witty and whimsical portraits take our human inclination toward the personification of animals to an extreme. It has been said of the artist that he approaches each painting as though it were commissioned by the subject itself. This role reversal, between artist and subject, is perhaps one of the principal ways the artist achieves the illusionary quality so intrinsic to his work. When asked what his paintings are about, he says, “They’re about other earthlings that we share this planet with…and about our relationship with them.” Palmore’s paintings have a masterful eloquence that elevates his subjects’ status and renders them in oil and acrylic with the dignity—even personality—suggestive of his view of their full partnership on the earth with humans.
Born in Oklahoma in 1945, Palmore’s education and art training occurred at several institutions, concluding with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1969. His work appears in numerous corporate collections and in such prominent public collections as the Smithsonian Institution, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Denver Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the National Museum of Wildlife art, the Saint Louis Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.