Anthony J Parké is a British artist, born in London, England, 1964. He uses a combination of classical and hyperrealistic techniques, where creative expression means an exploration between technical matters and searching for new creative visions and landscapes.
Parkés' work is held in private collections in the USA, Canada, England, Russia, Israel and Belgium.
'Deus Ex Machina' Series
This series of paintings entitled Deus Ex Machina, take their inspiration from a device found in Greek tragedian plays of the same name. This ‘deus ex machina’ device was designed to ensure unresolvable events somehow ended with a favourable outcome. This was achieved by literally lowering a ‘God’ from a machine onto the play’s stage. I utilise the concept of this tragedian device in my art by looking to the art of the classical and neo-classical periods.
I seek out particular characters in paintings of this period and 'appropriate' them into my own original works of art. The figures I use are invariably male, the are suffering, they are victims, and they also have a innocence and beauty about them. They are often rendered in a typically rich and sensuous manner which I find particular to the classical and neo-classical painting period.
In my paintings the figures who are suffering are symbolically alleviated in some way through the appearance of a deus ex machina represented in female form. I first considered her as a child caught in my very own personal ‘tragedian play’. These are figures who resonate with the suffering of my own brother’s life. He came into this world pure and innocent, as did they, until an debilitating illness sent him spiralling into a world of madness, a world of visions and voices. We needed a 'deus ex machina' then, but one never came. But in some sense, one does now.
Thus, the physical sufferings of these individuals are metaphors for the mental sufferings of my brother. In the act of alleviating their suffering, I in some sense alleviate my brother’s, such that these paintings act as personal symbols of hope.
I have currently begun the early stages of this new series of paintings by appropriating the figures from William Bouguereau’s, The Flagellation of Christ, Merry-Joseph Blondel’s, The Fall of Icarus, and Gerrit van Honthorst’s, Saint Sebastian.
'Future Reveries' Series
The series of paintings entitled ‘Future Reveries’ revolve around the themes of Loss and Union. They explore an imaginary dimension where ‘unfulfilled futures’ lay awaiting reclamation.
Through a debilitating illness my elder brother never realised his potential future. His world of possibilities remained in a sense, stillborn. Who would he have become? is the motivation for this series. So I create a world filled with a symbolism associated with his possible future outcomes.
This world is experienced through a circular ‘portal’, or lens. Within this portal a female presence becomes a collaborator on this journey, bridging the material and immaterial, or specifically the world of loss and the world of future possibilities.
Through these paintings I look for a sense of union; I look to reveal meaning and insight into an imaginary existence, to navigate, explore, and inquire into a world of alternative outcomes.
For me, there is a sense that these imaginary depicted futures are no longer dormant, that having been explored and revealed on the canvas, they somehow exist; that having been painted into this world, they have been reclaimed, and in a sense ‘returned’ to their owner.
In painting these imaginary futures, they also become my real future, and so ultimately both brother’s futures, and in this simple act a union between brothers is born afresh.
'Glass Preservation' Series
The theme running through this series of paintings is that of the capturing and preserving objects of interest, specifically the preservation of natural objects of beauty.
Objects within these paintings are commonly found in the traditional still life genre: leaves, fruit, shells, sea life, flowers, and other natural organic materials. All these objects are placed in glass vessels of various shapes and sizes.
The glass vessels begin as compositional devices: they create an external harmony offsetting any discord arising from the use of multiple, complex arrangements
The glass vessels also act as a metaphorical means of capturing and preserving objects of beauty. Like specimen jars at the Natural History museum preserve organic forms, my 'jars' preserve objects of beauty and fascination.
Additionally they invert a childhood meaning where glass came to symbolise the destruction of beauty as an ill brother destroyed all things related to glass and subsequently the 'beauty' of childhood.