Erik Parker’s Latest Eye-popping and Intensely Layered Paintings

by CaroPosted on

New York based artist Erik Parker is well known for his brightly colored, intensely layered paintings that employ an “organized chaos”. His style is a culmination of many styles, somewhere between the grotesque portraits of Francis Bacon and the imaginative arrangements of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, from graffiti to psychedelic album covers and cartoons. Parker once said that his aim is to “test how far he can go in the 21st century in taking the figure to the extremes of alteration,” and whether it be a figure or our television set, his extreme palette makes them look completely alien. Though many have labeled Parker’s works as mad or psychedelic, he spends a significant amount of time planning his dizzying compositions. Throughout his career, he has depicted recurring images of maps, heads, landscapes, hieroglyphics and elements of American subculture, which he presents in the context of modern day issues. For his current solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, showing alongside Mark Ryden’s “Dodecahedron” (covered here), he reuses these motifs in new shaped canvases. Titled “Undertow”, some works offer a binocular-shaped perspective of his Pop-colored world, others, in the formation of pyramids. He likens his visuals to scrolling through the loud and inescapable “pictoral chatter” of social media, where he makes references to media, popular culture, music, and art history. Erik Parker’s “Undertow” is now on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery through January 23rd, 2016.


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