Date: Saturday, December 17th, 2016
Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 2 - 5pm, or by appointment.
A “Must See Exhibition” Now open through December 17th, 2016!
Call for an appointment! Or stop at Bantha and we will give you a tour!
Ed Parrish Jr.’s new sculptures appear in his solo exhibition, Rust Belt Blondes at Irma Freeman Center for Imagination. Cast iron wall pieces based in mold patterns built from engaging ephemera seem tough guys with soft hearts.
Within works of improvised splendor, Ed Parrish Jr. creates fantastic visions that seem at once expansive and intimate. Abstract constructions allude to heavenly bodies, with shapes that long for the sky, as much as to vivid microscopic views into the infinitesimal, reflecting life’s fluid interconnections. Enticingly evocative designs allow these variable impressions to flow together in a continuum of associations. Inventive forms suggestive of growth and regeneration may also elicit celestial spheres encompassing the cosmos. Glistening, extraterrestrial-seeming constructions feel like newly arrived entities from a place of mysterious possibilities or earthbound cells engrossed in long division. Parrish’s works represent a universe that seems boundless in what could be dreamt of in the imagination. Compositions appear enigmatically alien yet feel sweetly comforting, full of familiar, sensual elements.
Works emerge from combined practices of assemblage, iron casting and painting. Patterns for sand molds incorporate diverse materials – sentimental textiles, plastic, paper and rubber forms – juxtaposed in spontaneous relationship. Each alignment feels intuitively shaped, discovered in the making. Appropriated from the real world, these items in balanced arrangement embody the tender clumsiness and surprising gracefulness of the everyday that, in his hands, ripen into poignant, eloquent beauty. His chosen objects sometimes spark reverie; a nostalgia for beginnings, for states of innocence.
Through iron casting, ephemerality transforms into indestructible strength. Airy matrices of bubble-wrap resemble tiny transfixed lava flows, turned impossibly heavy. Doilies’ finely-linked radial lines recall intertwined threads of remembrance stretching from childhood, now forever unforgettable. Cut-crystal plastic plates’ brief lives here achieve monumental afterlives. Seemingly evanescent, yet granted metallic permanence, everything resonates with elegy and metamorphosis, a duality that exemplifies the concept of transience. In acts of restoration, Parrish meticulously hand paints cast iron, heightening pattern materials’ original hues, enhancing phantom forms with the afterglow memory brings to things.
In painting cast doilies with focus and patience, his hand traces and enlivens another’s earlier, delicate touch, enacting those moments when boundaries disappear and past and present merge. Their strings’ precision creates shimmering planes of color; otherworldly, ethereal emanations, within meditative, concentric designs. The works’ visual impact is soothing, nearly hypnotic; their floating forms appear to change as you view them. Other pieces capture the space between the dangerous and the fine. Ferocity and fragility intermingle as thorned figures cast shadows upon rose-tinged doilies.
In some works, forms from corresponding planes of reality, double exposures of themselves, appear to converge on an illuminated field of consciousness, intricately bound by a mutual gravitation towards each other. A small circular shape seems a magnetic force between their mirror images, a pull that connects and separates them at the same time.
Pieces can express both impulsive energy and reflective thought. With an air of ecstatic release, suddenly, unpredictably, a radiant shape soars across a darkened grid, breaking its cold symmetry. A spacious stillness suffuses other works. A singular form, a fragment of order, is isolated within a void that feels spiritual and enlarging, as if it’s been dropped into a pool of vast space, where meaning dissipates and ripples outward.
Parrish’s densely-textured sculptures feel visceral and vital; uncannily alive, Their surfaces have swells or curves, as if the metal was gently breathing in and out. His palette has a teeming intensity. Hot pink presses against electric blue, fading gold awakens high-keyed turquoise, smoldering violet seems steeped in lush melancholy. Multiple shades of green highlight sculptures’ minute mountain ranges, then darken into valleys, evoking slipping glimpses of distant terrain framed by airplane windows, provoking a viewer to dream of the full landscape. There’s a sense of being drawn into the depths of these compositions but invariably returning to their mesmerizing surfaces. They seem to comprise parallels to our desired understanding of an individual or aspect of the real or imagined world; something palpable emerges that appears knowable, yet something mysterious lies always out of reach.
Parrish’s personal, lyrical work seems imbued with feelings of transcendence. His gestural fluency gives massive forms a subtle lift, illusionary qualities of lightness and speed, as if they’re ever at play, recasting themselves. Sensations within them of unhurried contemplation and edgy weight offer a refreshing counterforce to the insubstantiality of a contemporary culture dazzled by constant change. His sculptures create an unexpected world to encounter anew with an intensity of imaginary occupation.