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Artist ID: 2366

My artistic practice approaches the layering of past and present narratives that include Biblical, socio-political, and personal content. My current work examines contemporary Southern life through interior genre scenes and addresses the anxiety of living in a period of history ravaged by ideological, economic, and socio-political friction. Images of poverty and wealth are in proximity to each other and illustrate how Southern middle-class families exist in a state of flux between these two economic poles. The turmoil and frustration of living within this context is expressed through the manipulation of figures and interiors in a manner that stems visually from Dutch merry company paintings, early American editorial cartoons, post-war Cubism, and underground comics.

Clay Palmer holds an MFA in Painting from the University of Memphis in 2021 and a BFA in Studio Art as a University Scholar from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2017. While in graduate school, Clay was the recipient of the Harold and Martha Robinson Scholarship in Painting. He has been included in numerous regional, national, and international exhibitions including the 2022 Valdosta National, the 13th Annual International Drawing Discourse Exhibition, and the 2021 FL3TCH3R Exhibit. In 2020, Clay curated Voluntarily Indirect, an exhibition of contemporary observations on the human figure by Tennessee artists. Clay currently serves as Gallery and Events Coordinator and Lecturer in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Department of Visual and Theatre Arts. He and his wife, Olivia, are Jehovah’s Witnesses and enjoy community engagement activities. They currently reside in Trenton, Tennessee with their dogs Scarlett and Byron, and their cat, Bukowski.

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