Honor Fraser is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Erik Parker.
Erik Parker is acclaimed for his large brightly coloured paintings which blow the mind with a heady cocktail of celestial fractals and intestinal swirls. Clusters of words nestle like plant cells within the billowing waves of color, while demonic eyes, heads, and bony fingers emerge from what Roberta Smith describes the “druggy abstraction” of the work.
Some paintings appear symmetrical, recalling Rorschachs or cross sections of the human body. Most, however, give a sense of “ordered disorder” in which broad sweeps of flat graphics and multicolored aureoles contrast with tighter, more detailed patterns or cartoon-like doodles. Some works hint at primitive art, with demonic masks and bright talismanic shapes added to the mix. Along with amoeba, tentacles, aureoles and plant filaments, the shapes in Parker’s paintings are above all suggestive — though to varying degrees — of the human body and its functions, with what resemble intestines, glands, fingers, and sexual organs ejaculating or oozing unidentified technicolor matter.
The liquid, hallucinogenic visuals of Parker’s work are informed in part by the music he listens to and could be seen to represent the visual equivalents of the reverb and sitars of psychedelic rock. However, the written content of the paintings adds a decidedly current flavour to the mood of 1960s San Francisco, Fillmore posters and LSD. In what he calls “fragmented samples of our culture,” Erik Parker refers to contemporary topics, musicians or current events in handwritten words and titles such as “Player Hater,” ‘Betty Fords,” and “American Apparel.” But the words allude rather than reveal, and the paintings offer more of a retreat from reality than direct social or political commentary. In its rejection of realism and the rational in favour of visions of dream-like artificial worlds, Parker’s work can be allied to the late 19th century romantic, symbolist and decadent movements.
Based in New York, Erik Parker was born in Stuttgart, Germany and studied at the University of Austin, Texas then at SUNY Purchase. Parker’s work has been widely published and has earned him several awards. He has exhibited in solo shows in Tokyo, Milan, Manchester, Cologne, New York and Los Angeles, as well as in group shows around the world.