Parker first began using super tankers as symbols in 1975, and his earlier work often explored the intersection of human desires and manmade systems with forces in the natural world. For this installation, Parker’s wide-ranging concerns and techniques have been focused on a single, albeit limitless, subject. Over-fishing, pollution, ever-widening gyres of trash, the plight of coastal communities and traditional ways of life—problems on a scale as vast and incomprehensible as the oceans themselves.
One thing that has always set Parker’s work apart is the way he negotiates the balance between art and message. Incorporating found objects with his own creations in all kinds of media, he makes strong, arresting pieces that resonate on a purely visual level. Metal screening and electric wire become objects with the same otherworldly beauty as the coral they imitate. Large pulleys and nets hanging high overhead turn the gallery floor into the ocean floor, while a meticulous miniature fishing village made of cans, wood scraps, and twigs could be destroyed by one flick of a human hand. Playfulness, humor, subtle references, and pointed connections all present themselves; the viewer is invited to engage the work with the same open-minded curiosity as the artist who created it.
Almost everyone has some connection to the ocean or the idea of the ocean, whether practical, emotional, or spiritual. Such great beauty and such great destruction are overwhelming to contemplate. It’s often the artist, lending hand and eye, who can help us navigate.
Thompson Giroux Gallery
57 Main Street
Chatham, NY 12037
Thursday - Monday, 11am - 5pm, Friday 11am - 7pm
Artwork visible from the windows in February.
Gallery closed for the month of February.