Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Susan Farrar Parrish Named Artist of Distinction in Geometric Abstraction Exhibition

Still Point Art Gallery opened its latest exhibition Geometric Abstraction on February 10, 2010, and named Susan Farrar Parrish as one of its Artists of Distinction. Parrish is showing three wonderful pieces in this exhibition. The aspects of these pieces that engage and captivate are many. The perfect blend of warm reds and golds with the cool greens - hot and cold, fire and ice, day and night. The very present and solid central orb that is surrounded by smaller spheres, squares, and rectangles...no, not just surrounded, but made up of smaller spheres, circles, squares, lines, intersections, interruptions...a universe of patterns and broken patterns. The objects...the pictures...the words...the texture. There is so much in Parrish's work, all within the context of geometric shape.

Outer Space, Up in Smoke, Inner Spaces

I asked Parrish some questions about her work and her life as an artist.

Christine Cote: What led you to become an artist?
Susan Farrar Parrish: I never really considered being anything but an artist. When I was in the first grade, I won a blue ribbon in an art contest and in a childlike way, I decided that I would definitely be an artist. My parents insisted I study something in which I could make a living, therefore I studied graphic design and minored in painting.

CC: How has your style developed or evolved over time?
SFP: I did a lot of painting even before college, but in all of my early years I only painted realistically - mostly landscapes. A while after college, I got interested in clay and left painting for a long period. About 10 years ago, I changed my clay work totally from functional pottery to one of a kind handbuilt pieces with each piece painted with underglazes. Making this work reminded me how much I missed painting. Since coming back to painting in the last 10 years, I have little interest in realism, but am mainly interested in abstraction and painting in more of an experimental and responsive way.

CC: Could you say something about the pieces you submitted for this show?

SFP: My pieces in the Geometric Abstraction show are collage/paintings. The canvas is covered with pages from magazines, letting the wrinkles happen when applying the pages to the canvas before starting to paint. I add paint, and take away, and add more, finding hidden items and gems of texture and color from the collage or from my brushwork. I continue to add and subtract until the piece starts to work for me.

CC: From where do you draw inspiration for your work? What inspired the pieces in this exhibition?
SFP: In the last year and a half, my 3-D and my 2-D work have totally changed and started to tie together. My work has always referenced out natural environment. But with my mother dying and the election brewing in the fall of 2008, I began to feel strongly about conveying messages of social concern through my work - mainly, the environment. In my 3-D work, I use found objects, objects of little or no value to form my work and to speak for me. The collage/paintings are the same. I cover every canvas totally with pages from magazines. This utilizes otherwise thrown-away items, but also gives wonderful color and texture as the basis of my paintings. In the collage pieces from the show, I also use photographs from my 3-D pieces. The round shape conjures up so many images from our environment – the earth, the sun, the moon, and, from the bottom of the ocean, the brain coral.

CC: Is there anything you want people to know about you or your work?
SFP: I hope that my work in 3-D and 2-D makes people take a second look and hopefully a third - investigate. The public generally finds my work very engaging, which is great. But if it makes them realize what can be done with all the “stuff” we throw away everyday, that’s good too.

Artist Statement - Susan Farrar Parrish

In my new body of work, I express my growing concern and awareness of our symbiotic bond with the earth. My work, in paintings and in clay, has long been inspired by nature. At this time in my life, as an artist and as a person on this Earth, I am interested in expanding my relationship to the earth from not merely that of an admirer to that of a supporter. In words attributed to Chief Seattle (Seathl): We are part of the Earth and it is part of us...the Earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the Earth...Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Biography - Susan Farrar Parrish

My earliest memories include an interest in the arts. While in the first grade, I was awarded a blue ribbon for a painting. Thus began a childlike belief that I would have a lifetime of working as an artist. I have spent my life working as an artist and craftsperson. Most of this time, my painting and 3-D work were separate. I concentrated on each during different phases. In the last year, my sculptural work, which continues, uses clay, but adds found objects, and my paintings/collages are starting to be a unified body of work. Photographs from my sculptural pieces show up in my paintings and some of my 3-D work has areas with collage and paint reminiscent of my paintings. The last year and a half have been very challenging, personally. But in art, unlike other professions, one's personal life and work life are closely related. During this challenging time my creative energy and thinking has really grown. I have a newfound energy and excitement about my work.

My work has been included in many shows around the United States. It has also been published in Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times, American Craft, and The Craft Report as well as a number of books. These include 500 Teapots, 500 Bowls, 500 Plates, and Surface Design for Ceramics. Several corporate collections, including Glaxo and SAS Institute, include my work. 

Outer Space (36 x 36), acrylic on canvas, with collage, $1200
Inner Spaces (36 x 36), acrylic on canvas, with collage, $1200
Up in Smoke (48 x 36), acrylic on canvas, with collage, $1500

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
February 10, 2010

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