Erik Parker’s paintings are at once colorful, graphic, sometimes psychedelic, always mesmerizing compositions that are in fact fervent exchange between visual intoxicants and an internally-navigated GPS (global positioning system) of cultural antecedents.
Parker is a chronicler of recent and sometimes not so recent history. Using a method akin to genealogy tables, Parker traces the elements, influences and nuances of a specific time, place or personality. Initially, the lists appear random, people, dates, or movements seem thrown together haphazardly. The famous exist alongside the obscure, each having equal importance within the composition.
In reality however, these paintings are meticulously researched snapshots of a particular era that has deeply interested the artist. Arranged on canvas the way one envisions neurons may fire in the synapses of our cultural sub-conscious, “Props” are given to figures that have been overshadowed by others. These random associations coax the viewer into initiating new pathways through which to glean the essence of a particular period. (It may also serve as a reminder of the fickle hand of fate). Incorporating a technique that the artist describes as attempting the visual equivalent of a hip-hop song, Parker catapults the viewer into the heartbeat of a moment. And there we linger…
Framing and forcing the issue are all manner of cartoony, internal organs, defiantly raised fists graphically rendered appendages and cavities. Punchy, colorful, and in your face, Parker relates the blood and guts of what he has got to say on canvas. Never acquiescing entirely to merely presenting a picture or telling a tale, Parker really does attempt to capture a moment. The themes of his paintings have ranged from pop to punk, hooliganism to hero worship, poetic justice to political satire.
Erik Parker will be included in the exhibition “Painting Pictures” curated by Gys van Tyl at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. He has also been included in the exhibition “The Americans” curated by Mark Sladen at the Barbican Art Galleries in London and has had a solo show at the Cornerhouse Contemporary Art Museum in Manchester. He has exhibited extensively in Europe and Japan in such galleries as Modern Art, London, Jablonka Galerie in Cologne and Taka Ishi in Japan. Erik Parker lives and works in New York City.