Robert Parker's Artist Statement
I strive for visual simplicity in my work that is more than a superficial engagement with subject or a cursory examination of context and content. I create simplicity through a derivative process that reduces complex information by progressively refining an original idea. I want my paintings and print images to contain as little visual information as possible, creating strength in simple form and color.
Paint and print are my primary media; I often use drawing in the derivative process to develop and simplify my ideas and form concepts. Drawing provides a freedom of expression and a spontaneity that is not always afforded in paint or print. As a lifetime pursuit, drawing gives great pleasure and facilitates my creative process.
I begin each piece of work with the process of conceptualization and a strong sense of intention rather than a spontaneous reaction to an idea. I conceptualize and think about an idea and the media that may be sympathetic for a piece work long before I put ink to paper or brush to canvas. This is an intellectual exercise in which the idea gestates in my mind as I explore various metaphors for expression including color, pattern, size and medium. In particular, color is a touchstone in my work, and intense fields of color predominate as they are juxtaposed one against another, and often against softer, more muted colors. The quality and intensity of light in the Southwest is often a touchstone.
My ideas are derived from several mindsets that form context: the natural environment, social concerns and meditative experiences. Much of my work comes from meditation. I seek simplicity of expression, and qualities such as reflection, calm, and peace as predominant themes. For the past several years some of my work has focused on world events, September 11, 2001 among them. Despite the fact that I have strong convictions about politics, social justice, and the tragedy of September 11 - which filled my subconscious with angst, despair, and confusion - I was able through meditation to ultimately feel simple compassion. The "Aequus" prints reflect a universal need for healing. I believe that art needs to transcend emotional responses to everyday events. Art has to have an enduring quality if it is to nurture over time.
In general, I tend to work in series or editions. In a series or editions (prints), ideas can evolve into numerous forms and sub themes of the original idea. Despite the fact that each body of work in a series or edition is related to a principle idea, each individual piece makes its own statement and can stand alone. The "Shadow Castings" prints were done as three separate series with nine images each. The "Banded Light" prints are as series that is ongoing and may be so for many years. The "Firmament" paintings are large oil-on-canvas works that are produced in two sets of ten.
The Ardex paintings are experimental works created on cast-in-place concrete. Ardex is a specialized, self leveling concrete mix that accepts various paints on its surface. The Ardex paintings are ten sequential works that commence with a base field of color with subsequent bands of color laid over the natural concrete base.
In the final resolution of my work, artistic endeavor and beauty rise above mere sentiment. Through clarity of form, space, and color, art can become a resting place for the spirit and a sanctuary for good thoughts. The ultimate goal of my art is to create objects that nourish the spirit by inspiring feelings of peace and an appreciation of beauty.