Stephen Palmer

Stephen Palmer - Vane

Stephen Palmer, Sack, 2002, acrylic on canvas, dimensions variable


‘Sack’ forms an archive of one year spent painting, collecting and photographing carrier bags and refuse sacks in Newcastle and beyond. Stripey carrier bags are a familiar everyday sight. Along with their near-relatives, the plain single-colour carriers, these bags represent an unbranded and utilitarian form of shopping. In Newcastle, the black and white striped bag prevails. In ‘Sack’ the artist transforms these everyday disposable items into works that reflect the scale and ambition of modernist abstract paintings. The ‘High Art’ appearance of the work is displaced however by the bags’ ordinariness. Another image features a black bin-bag found in the vicinity of Cork Street in London, the former centre of the capital’s contemporary art scene. The archive also includes a series of photographs of discarded carriers bags that have come to rest in the branches of trees and bushes or ones that have been used as surrogate bin-bags, left for collection around the streets of Newcastle and in the corridors of a local housing estate.