Erik Parker's New Soul To Start a New Year
Erik Parker is kicking off the new year with his 2nd solo show with Mary Boone Gallery which will open on January 10, 2019 at their Fifth Avenue location. Following the New Mood exhibition presented last March, where his "plank" paintings and pyramid-shaped canvases dominated the space, New Soul will be presenting a new series of mostly tondo paintings.
We've visited Erik Parker's studio in Williamsburg recently, just one month after opening his big retrospective show Millennial’s Dilemma at Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) Foundation, and one month ahead of the opening of this new solo exhibition. With some of the works barely sketched on the primed canvases and some almost entirely completed, we got a great insight into artist's intricate creative process. Hidden behind the mountains of hand-labeled cans of paint, the vibrant new body of work is divided between landscape and figurative images.
Using intensively vibrant hues, the artist composes surreal landscapes usually appearing over a pool of water. Creating a lush setting filled with impossible vegetation, from unbelievable flowers or leaves to tentacle-like ground-creeping lifeforms, Parker's psychedelic landscapes regularly feature lone islands or heavenly waterfalls. Completely unrestrained with the rules of dimension, perspective, light, or accurate depiction, it's the choice of colors and the incredible shapes of the flora that makes these alluring images both complex and irresistible. The use of a round tondo format for these paintings is giving an illusion that the scene is unveiled through the telescope of a distant explorer, adding to the romantic and dreamy feel of the work.
The figurative works are assembled around the rough construction of a contemporary portrait picture found in stock photos, magazines, or similar. After drafting the main image outlines, the artist proceeds with collaging a variety of imagery, visual languages, symbols, or graphic elements, all of which results in a somewhat psychedelic composition that forms the final creation. Offering multiple versions depending on the point of view, these complex paintings keep re-revealing to the viewer as he comes closer to examine the detail. From its figurative format, all the way to miniature paper collage additions from vintage magazines, peeking from and interacting with the painted elements.
Photos and text by @SashaBogojev