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sm.ART curating & consulting

sm.ART curating & consulting

Private Gallery
Erin Parish, Rise @ Dream Hotel, South Beach Miami, Dec 1st
Erin Parish
Erin Parish
  Dear sm.ART friends,

New York-based painter


would like to invite you to visit her exhibition at the event


a collaboration of art and music
during Art Basel/Miami Beach week

@ Dream Hotel

1111 Collins Street, South Beach Miami, FL


Thursday, December 1st: World Aids Day
5 – 9 PM

"Erin Parish paints fields of circles that contain worlds. It’s rare to find a geometric element repeated to the point of patterning in paintings yielding so much spatiality, but Parish wrings space from pattern through scale shifts and an atmospheric materiality in her paint that shimmers and veils as much as it discloses in literal fashion her painting processes and the physical here and now of being before her painting. If spatial illusion is all about there and concrete materiality is all about here, then Parish has found an elegant, even romantic language for bringing the two together. Painting has been perpetually concerned with this effort, even as the broader cultural narrative or metaphoric story-line has changed (or evolved, if you are an optimist) across the centuries. The manner in which a painter achieves her synthesis of illusion and materiality, form and gesture within these larger shifts in cultural address and content might be termed style. When, as often seems the case in abstract art, the discussion has moved past representative social narrative altogether, style might seem to be all there is. But how about saying it differently? Say instead, "nothing becomes more important.”

So then, what is characteristic about Parish’s style, why does it seem to communicate as content, to land gracefully and alertly in our shining present? I think there’s a certain abjectness embedded in the gorgeousness of her painting that imparts a knowing quality. Her planetary circles are arranged as ghostly or lunar emblems in a loose grid. They are ectoplasmicaly romantic, dissolving boundaries between foreground, middle ground and background, promising shifting vistas of unlimited distance. Her recent additions of more regular grids of smaller circular sequins injects a rude materiality into this idealized scenario, as does the glam pun of her incorporation of mirrored plexiglas as an alternative painting ground to canvas and wood panel. The iridescence in her mixture of resin and oil paints already possessed a milky reflectivity, the mirrored support contributes only a bit more since it is behind, or underneath, the undulating build-up of her paint. So the sequins and mirrored plexiglas add a cheesy, tinselly counter presence to the fairly direct appeal to established conventions of the "beautiful.” Parish has lately been rendering her circles as transparent bubbles, partly to evoke the microcosmic level of the cellular as a spatial alternative to the oceanic and celestial readings her paintings might otherwise inspire. Again, though, there is a playful reading of the bubble as a low-grade special effect, something from Lawrence Welk, bridging high to low, metaphysical to whimsical.

The metaphysical can’t be just a straw dog for whimsy to matter. Parish’s handling of the complex transitions from oil paint to resin and back obliterates any obdurate distinction between the two materials. While resolutely concrete in their materiality, her paintings’ materialism nevertheless converts to lyrical image. Her color creates plausible synesthetic responses, like the papaya yellow of a circle in the top center of a recent vertical painting. To say you can "taste” the tang of the color is another aspect of conversion. You can feel an aqueous chill in her blues and catch the vegetal scent in her greens. Metaphor is metaphysical and Parish stakes her artistic claim to this realm of the senses. And her paintings’ optically reflective opulence makes as much an appeal to our memory of Byzantine bejewelment as it does to the more recent light-sprinkling comic majesty of the disco ball.

The role of irony in Parish’s work is ameliorative rather than caustic. In our epoch of the double reading and double-entendre some measure of irony is a necessary defense against gullibility and fundamentalism. But if there’s too much irony we lose the openness to wonder that consecrates our lives and makes them livable. Finding the balance is a challenge to contemporary sensibility, which falters in the absence of either. Art and style are platforms for the performance of sensibility and Parish’s stylish paintings find a stylish balance between irony and belief that becomes a form of belief itself, a belief that painting can make meaningful its own extension. "

Stephen Westfall, Essay for Circles catalogue 2005

Please view the images as pdf-File

For more information please contact sm.ART at

or visit Erin’s website at

Best regards from sm.ART and enjoy Erin’s works,

sibylle mueller
sm.ART curating & consulting

le rose de france
17, boulevard de suisse
98000 monte-carlo

phone +33 - (0)6 - 27 58 77 48
fax +377 – 97 70 35 16

Erin Parish
Electric Tiger, 2011
Oil on canvas
48 x 60 inches
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