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Tom is a painter, teacher, writer, and occasional curator, born in Birkenhead, UK. He exhibits his work widely and often, in group and solo projects.

Tom has taught Fine Art, Critical & Contextual Studies, and related subjects, at several UK institutions, including the University of Edinburgh (ECA), Leeds Arts University, Leeds Beckett University, York St John University, The Lowry, and Turps. He trained at Liverpool John Moores University (BA Fine Art and PGCE Post-Compulsory Education), St Helens College (ESF Research Fellowship), and at the University of Manchester (MA Art History & Visual Studies). In 2018, he completed his PhD in Painting, at the Royal College of Art. His thesis was titled: The Condition of Painting: Reconsidering Medium Specificity.


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Tom’s research addresses the interrelationship of painting’s materials & processes and its pictorial and iconographic content. His work delves into the legacies of formalism, modernism, and abstraction, with a particular emphasis on painting’s ontological identity and ideas surrounding medium specificity, which include the temporal and situational conditions of encounter.

These interests are informed by a longstanding investment in Romantic poetry and landscape painting.

He has written about abstract painting, the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, in respect of questions of medium, and the white paintings of Maurice Utrillo.

Tom’s research engages, also, with artist statements, particularly with ideas relating to accountability, and to connections between the written word and the object of painting.

Currently, Tom is working on a number of monographs and reviews.

He is keen to challenge the notion of a post-medium, post-object condition in respect of the practice of painting. As such, Tom is engaged in an extended project that has arisen out his doctoral research. Here, he seeks to further reconsider picture theories in relation to models of medium. His research thus has both practical and theoretical extensions, and he draws, in part, from an ongoing series of shifting collaborative curatorial engagements.

Provisional titles for written outputs include: Painting and its Contexts and With Painting: Spectatorship, Temporality and Modes of Address.

As a painter, Tom works mostly on a small scale, usually in oil paint. He combines, juxtaposes and inverts hardwood panels to foreground interrelationships of a formal, material and narrative kind. Of importance are notions of partiality, completeness, togetherness, repetition, difference, redeployment and use.

These concerns have arisen out of, and have further prompted, an attentiveness to the general and particular conditions of surface and support, to discrete modes of painterly application and layering, and to the role played by redaction in the act of making.

Tom invokes the phenomenon of pareidolia, in confluence with the manipulable material aspect of paintings, to assist in or drive the generation of pictorial content.

He seeks to shed light on the spectatorial relationship of work to world; of inside to outside.

Startup Grant for Hydra Arts, with Ali Graney. Wirralbiz (2006)

Longlist, Contemporary British Painting Prize, 2015 & 2018.

Winner, The British Institution Award, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, 2015.

Shortlist, The Marmite Prize for Painting IV, 2013.

Second Place, Motorcade/FlashParade Open, 2011.

Winner, The Wirral Open, 2011.

Winner (Shared), Alumni: Graduates of Liverpool Art School Open, 2005.

Winner, The Gilchrist Fisher Award, Rebecca Hossack, 2004.

Winner, Emerson Group Award, MAFA Open, Bury Art Gallery & Museum, 2002.

Feiweles Trust Bursary & Residency, The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2002.

Winner, Young Artist of The Year Award, The Hunting Arts Prizes, RCA, 2000.

Selected Publications

Palin, T. (2022). Origins & Ends: Understanding Medium According to Heidegger’s Truth. In: Duarte, G. A. and Schmidt-Wulffen, S., eds., The Object as a Process. Transcript Publishing, pp. 49–66.

Palin, T. (2020). The Context of Medium Specificity: From Riegl to Greenberg. The Journal of Contemporary Painting, 5(2). pp. 253–272.

Palin, T. (2019). The White Paintings of Maurice Utrillo. Turps Banana, pp. 14–21.

Palin, T. (2019). Involvement, Inbetweenness and Abstract Painting. In: Painting the In-Between. Metapoiesis Press, pp. 2–5.

Palin, T. (2013). Tom Palin: Artist Statements 1993-2012. Workshop Press, Leeds.

Palin, T (2012). Tom Palin. In: Chadwick, J., ed., 20 Years of the Feiweles Trust. YSP Press, pp. 54–57.

Palin, T. (2012). Readings in a Rumour of the End of Art. Workshop Press, Leeds.

Palin, T (2002). Pride of Place: A Painter’s Perspective. YSP Press.

Solo Exhibitions

(2017) Tom Palin: Elegies in Grey. Leeds Arts University, UK.

(2017) Tom Palin: Small Paintings: Gallery on the Green. Settle, UK.

(2016) Tom Palin: The Spotlight Gallery. The Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax, UK.

(2012) Tom Palin: Against the Grain. According to McGee, York, UK.

(2011) The Big Country: Works on Paper. Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool, UK.

(2011) Tom Palin: Recent Paintings. York College, UK.

(2010) Tom Palin. Leeds College of Art, UK.

(2010) In Two Minds, Ashton Art Gallery, UK.

(2008) A Room with a View 2. View Two Gallery, Liverpool, UK.

(2005) Between Then and Now, Dean Clough, Halifax, UK.

(2004) A Room with a View. The Atkinson Gallery, Southport, UK.

(2002) Pride of Place: A Painter’s Perspective. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK.

Selected Group Exhibitions

(2021) Showcase, Dean Clough Galleries, UK.

(2020) BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea, UK.

(2020) Beyond Other Horizons, Iasi Art Museum, Romania.

(2020) ALPS, The Brunswick, Leeds, UK.

(2019) Two-Fold. OA Studios Gallery, Salford, UK.

(2019) PAINT, PS Mirabel, Manchester, UK.

(2019) Painting the In-Between, Bowery, Leeds, UK.

(2019) Paint North, Lady Beck Project Space, Leeds, UK.

(2019) 139 x Nothing But Good, Park, Wilhelminapark, the Netherlands.

(2017) Fully Awake. House for an Art Lover, Glasgow, UK.

(2016) Enzo Marra and Tom Palin, Cornerstone Gallery, Liverpool, UK.

(2016) Pleasure Islands, 3Space, Manchester, UK, and Artworks Atelier, Salford, UK.

(2016) The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, Mall Galleries, London.

(2015) The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London.

(2015) The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London.

(2014) Still, Studio 24, Mabgate, Leeds, UK.

(2013) New Perspectives in Painting, The Studios Gallery, Derbyshire, UK.

(2013/12) The Marmite Prize IV, Tannery Arts, Drawing Room, London; Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth, UK; Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge, UK; Mackintosh Museum, The Glasgow School of Art, UK. 2012: The Marmite Prize IV, Central Art Gallery, Ashton-Under-Lyne, UK.

(2012) Local Imagination, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, USA, and Leeds College of Art, UK.

(2012) The Gilchrist-Fisher 2012, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London.

(2011) London Lives, Bankside Gallery, London.

(2010) Sanctuary, St. George’s German Lutheran Church, London.

(2010) Dream Machine, Metal, Liverpool, UK.

(2009) Recent Acquisitions, Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool, UK.

(2008) Local Heroes, Liverpool Biennial 08, View Two Gallery, UK.

(2008) Salford Pops Up, The Lowry, Salford Quays, UK.

(2008) So You Want To Be An Artist, The Lowry, Salford Quays, UK.

(2007) Wirral Open, The Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead, UK.

(2005) Sense & Sensuality: Blind Art, RCA, London.

(2005) Alumni: Graduates of Liverpool School of Art, Hope Street Gallery, UK.

(2004) Le Petit Paysage, Comme Ca, Manchester, UK, and Liverpool Biennial 04, Gostins Building, UK.

(2004) The Gilchrist Fisher Award 2004, Rebecca Hossack, London.

(2004) The Hunting Arts Prizes 2004, RCA, London.

(2003) Group Exhibition, Hicks Gallery, Wimbledon, London.

(2002) Memory & Perception: Tom Palin & Peter Bonnell, Senate House, Liverpool, UK.

(2001) The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London.

(2001) The Hunting Art Prizes 2001, RCA, London.

(2000) Small Works, View Two Gallery, Liverpool, UK.

(2000) Chichester Open, Edes House, Chichester, UK.

(2000) The Hunting Art Prizes 2000, RCA, London.

(1999) Past, Present, Future, Temple Bar Galleries, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland.

(1999) Can’t Agree Between Us, Parking Space Gallery, Liverpool, UK.

(1998) Checkout, Old Kwik Save, Toxteth, Liverpool, UK.

(1998) Kraftwerk. The FoS, Munich, Germany.

(1997) Drawlab Painters, Hanover Galleries, Liverpool, UK.

(2023) PhD External Examiner, Lancaster University.

(2021–22) PhD External Examiner, Aberystwyth.

(2022) BA Suite Validation External Panel Member. York St John University.

(From 2019) Reviewer for the Journal of Contemporary Painting.

(2020–23) External Examiner, BA Fine Art, Wirral Met., University of Chester.

(From 2016) Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

(From 2012) Member of the Wirral Society of Arts.