Tom Palmore’s art defies easy classification. It’s wildlife but, to say the least, it’s whimsical wildlife. With titles like Bart the Bear, Leopard at Twilight and Gunsmoke (picturing a bison against a classic Western backdrop), Tom takes a different look at fauna, fowl and farm animals as well as man’s best friend. His paintings are big, bold and graphic—but highly detailed which gives them a look of realism infused with a touch of surrealism. With an education that includes the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the ongoing results of Palmore’s dedication to his art are impressive. His works are in the collections of such highly esteemed museums as The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of Art, and major corporate and private collections including AT&T, Price Waterhouse and Stanley Marcus, founder of Neiman-Marcus.
A nother of Tom’s pet observations is that while we operate on the assumption that every human in our species is an individual, we often don’t think of the animal world in the same way. Sheeba is an actual tiger currently residing in northwest Arkansas. Seeing her move about her environment, she evoked the elegance of one of Hollywood’s glamorous leading ladies. Felines are naturally sexy and the great cats are no exception. The lavish interior of lush satin fabric was the only place such a starlet should pose. Sheeba is a large animal with a great presence, so the painting (and the canvas print) has been created in a large format. This sumptuous animal in such a sumptuous setting creates a fun and impactful juxtaposition of our world and hers. Besides, she looks pretty content and we didn’t feel it was our place to shoo her off the couch. Published from the artist’s original oil painting.
For instance, there is technically no royalty in Wister, Oklahoma, USA. Yet Tom’s capturing of this simian’s pose and expression seems to have introduced just such a blue-blood line. Whether it is actually the case or not, we often project our own range of human emotions and quirky traits onto the actions and mannerisms of animals. This chimpanzee seemed to exude to Tom the domineering and regal look of European royalty usually found in a Renaissance portrait. His choice of placing her before the stately purple curtain with a classic landscape for a backdrop only further enhances the illusion.
Who’s to say what the Duchess was really thinking about that day, but we’d certainly be interested in Mr. Darwin’s thoughts on the matter.