1944 – 2017
In August 2020, ARTIS Gallery will present a selection of paintings, from the artist’s estate, for a retrospective exhibition titled, ‘Oh No Never Let the Spirit Die’.
Born in Auckland in 1944, Parker studied at Ilam School of Fine Arts, Christchurch and graduated with Honours in Painting in 1967.
In the 2002 Queen’s Birthday Honours Parker was awarded an ONZM for 40 years of services to painting and in 1970 he was awarded the prestigious Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at Otago University.
Parker is best known for his large impasto paintings within a grid format, full of texture, rhythm and balance within his imposed framework. He worked in thick layers of paint applied with a palette knife, sweeps of paint, which he pared down to reveal hints of what lies beneath.
The sense of an inner radiance in Parker’s paintings allows the viewer to relate to the “spirit” of the painting. Parker always had a spiritual basis to his work and his ‘Plain Song’ series reference the plains of Canterbury and of Marlborough where he lived.
“Plain Song – everything has been titled with that name for the past four decades. Not only does this reference my memories of the plains of Canterbury and Marlborough throughout my life, but also my love of music – especially blues, jazz and classical.”
Works painted not long before his death, included several of uplifting, joyous colour – a sense of embracing his life to the full, as well as simply riding the rhythms of superbly juxtaposed colours.
Parker has exhibited in ARTIS Gallery since 2013. His exhibition ‘Light Plain’ in March 2016 was his first solo show at ARTIS and the painting ‘Plain Song: The Light Plain – Sunlight ‘was purchased by Otago University for the Hocken Collection.