Monday, December 12, 2011

Keith Parks - Artist of Distinction - Inventive Photographer

Keith Parks was recently named an Artist of Distinction in Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition: The Abstraction Attraction! He also received a Portfolio Award and, as a result, will have a portfolio of his work published in the gallery's art and literary journal, Still Point Arts Quarterly


Keith Parks' photography is unique, inventive, and revealing of a mind of extraordinary creativity. His five images in this exhibition, of which three are shown here, are from Parks' extensive Paper Series. In this series, Parks uses paper and a camera to explore color, hue, light, shadow, contrast, and, of course...composition. Extraordinary composition. Extraordinary creativity.

Born in Los Angeles, Keith Parks grew up in the town of Oxnard, California, where his father converted an old shed in their backyard into a darkroom to "keep him off the streets" while he was in high school. Parks began college at California State University, Northridge as a photography major, but as graduation approached and he realized there were no "Help Wanted: Photographer" ads in the classified section, but plenty of entry-level graphics jobs, he switched his emphasis to graphic art in his final year. In 1980 he received his B.A. in Art.

That led to a career of more than thirty years in graphic design. In 2008, with his daughter about to depart for college, and his midlife artistic crisis in full bloom, Parks felt the time was right to take a stab at some purely personal artwork. He devoted a couple of years to building a body of work, and posted the resulting images to an online artist's community, eliciting positive reviews and valuable feedback. By 2010, with his hard drive filling up with image files, he began to submit entries to art shows and to have work appearing in shows around the country. Since then Parks' work has been showing in galleries throughout the country and online.
I have been taking and making pictures since the days when it made your fingers smell (aaahhh... fixer). At first I lamented the departure of film, but the digital medium certainly has its advantages. So while I do some computer processing of most of my images, I try and limit it to things that I could have done in the darkroom. It is important to me that the pictures are not overly synthetic.

The series of paper images began quite by chance. While shooting some food pictures, I realized that the paper I was using as a backdrop was quite interesting on its own. And as I worked more and more with paper, I came to see it as the perfect subject. Paper is cheap, comes in almost endless colors and textures, and is quite willing to sit for hours under the lights while I cut, fold, reposition, and take multiple shots. In this series I continue to explore abstracts, still life, figurative images, conceptual pieces, and my own variations on historical art imagery. Ultimately I am most inspired by the phenomenon of nature that we call “light”, by its human offspring vision and perception, and by the amazing things that happen when the three come together. I also love a nice picture of a cute kitten now and then.
Nightshade. 20 x 20 inches. Color photograph. Framed, $395.
Crash. 20 x 20 inches. Color photograph. Framed, $395. 
Visit Keith Parks' website 


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