Preview: Mike Parillo "Reckless Optimism" @ CES Contemporary, Laguna Beach

November 07, 2012

Mike Parillo, a respected commercial artist for the snowboard industry for the past two decades, has spent the last ten years crafting a new language. This language is composed from a style that refines his signature vocabulary of symbols, colors and concepts into a more definite narrative. In November, he steps into the contemporary art world with both feet as he presents his first full body of work. Reckless Optimism, composed of sixteen new works created in 2012, is a shimmering collection of the aesthetic that he has compounded into a mine of carefully compounded hues, shapes, and imagery. This show represents Parillo’s most complete and largest undertaking as an artist. This exhibition cannot be missed. Reckless Optimism is the first solo exhibition at the newly opened CES Contemporary gallery in Laguna Beach, California.


The narrative of the world perceived by the senses that Parillo paints is more than the archetypal tale of success and pitfalls. Referencing a color key that he created exclusively for the series, each burst of color denotes a particular emotion experienced as one grasps or strays from the trajectory that he or she has set for the self to follow. Bright, inviting cloud-like forms obscure the view from the bottom, and slick, shiny forms distort the top, creating a path for the invisible viewer which is hardly navigated but rather is tripped through blindly, tempted by beauty, promises, and an illusory – if not deceitful freedom. Along the way one is guided by equally lurid symbols of wisdom – best seen from midway through a sharp fall off the top of the proverbial mountain.


Parillo’s imagery is best characterized as concentrated mini-modules. Images and compositions are manipulated using his preferred palette of Day-Glo and metallic oil and/or acrylic paints in a whirlwind of small, frenetic brush strokes. Abstractions erupt from various locations in the cluster of each work, occasionally yielding to an appendage of representation and symbolism regarding hope and failure, such as a ladder or a rope. These clusters form surrealistic maps through which visions from the id, the ego and the super-ego are all realized. In a departure from pop surrealism’s effort to make ironic the presence of the unconscious into the conscious, Parillo treats the unconscious and conscious as equals, owning the narrative through a perfect composite of truths.



Reckless Optimism

New works by Mike Parillo

November 10, 2012 – January 13, 2012

Opening: November 10, 2012 | 6 – 9pm

CES Contemporary

Laguna Beach, California