Fan Mail: Letter to Ulrike Palmach

Ulrike Palmach. Cow, 2003, 55 x 96 x 28 in, wood, mixed fabrics, thread, polyester fiber fill. Courtesy of Stephen Wirtz Gallery.

Dear Ulrike Palmbach,

I first saw your work in 2003 during a tour led by Stephen Wirtz in his gallery. I circled your sculpture entitled Cow several times as he spoke about your parents’ story of WWII in rural Germany and of the screaming cows. He talked about finding safety from the air raids underground as entire farming communities were forced to leave their cows in the fields with painfully full udders. I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. I still think of it often. This sculpture provided me with a quietly powerful metaphor for the atrocity of war.

I visited the Stephen Wirtz gallery this past March for your most recent show. I loved how creepy it felt to share the space with the sculpture entitled Hounds. The subtle stance of the crouching dogs allowed me to approach, but their stooped postures kept me at a distance. The emotional ambivalence was unsettling. Are they recoiling or ready to pounce?

There is always a beautiful tension between your medium and your materials. The patchwork and exposed thread seem to suggest vulnerability among the confident construction. I just really had to tell you how much I love your work, and as strange as it sounds, the psychological conflict it provides.

Sincerely,

Tiffany Harker

Ulrike Palmach. <i>Hounds</i>, 2006, 10 x 13 x 20 in, 120 x 156 x 22 in. overall, wood, dyed muslin, polyester fiber fill, thread. Courtesy of Stephen Wirtz Gallery.

Ulrike Palmach. Hounds, 2006, 10 x 13 x 20 in, 120 x 156 x 22 in. overall, wood, dyed muslin, polyester fiber fill, thread. Courtesy of Stephen Wirtz Gallery.

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