“Anthony J. Parké's paintings... are entirely convincing representations of things that we could never in fact encounter in the same form in what we are pleased to describe as real life. They are visionary art – humbler cousins of compositions such as Salvador Dali’s famous Christ of St. John of the Cross.”
Anthony J Parké was born in London, where he still resides and works. He took his Honours Degree in Fine Art at Kingston University, finalising this period of study in Philosophy. He went on to complete his Masters Degree in Literature, focusing on the archetypal imagery in the poetry of Algernon Charles Swinburne. He was interviewed by Britain's most eminent art historian and critic, Edward Lucie-Smith for a short film about his paintings, and later, Lucie-Smith would go on to write the foreword to a book on his early work, Into the Glass: The Hyperreal Paintings of Anthony J. Parké. Parke then went on to paint Lucie-Smith’s portrait.
He has received several awards, most notably from the Royal Society of Miniatures: a Connoisseur Commendation Award in 2019, and a Gold Memorial Bowl Honourable Mention in 2017. HIs works are held in private collections across the UK, as well as with international collectors in Russia, America, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, and across Europe. Most notably he has a work in the private collection of Gabi Tolkowsky, the world’s most eminent diamond cutter, having cut several of the world’s most recognised and largest diamonds.
The overriding theme throughout my work is transformation. Like the alchemical desire to transform baser metals to higher metals, so my protagonists seek a transmutation from a lower spiritual state, to a higher spiritual state. Essentially, my work reflects on the human condition by revealing the baser spiritual and psychic natures of my constructed protagonists, and seeking change. The aim is to peer into the subconscious of my protagonists using a personal and universal language of symbolism. They each have interior workings of a mind under duress, thus they require transformation of the spirit.
Throughout my formative years, I was inescapably immersed in a familial environment where a sibling’s insanities and horrors filled the house. In that environment there was always an immense feeling of entrapment, of a desire to escape, change, or transform out of the oppressive atmosphere. As a child I effectively watched a sibling transform from a state of wealth, to a state of ill-health. As a result, I have always been drawn to the strange and extraordinary anomalies and traits of the human experience with equal amounts of fascination and fear... searching in a sense for ways to explore in some guise an alchemical-like transmutation of the spirit, to apply it to myself, and metaphorically, through the transformative power of art, to apply it vicariously to my sibling.
So I turn to the ‘outsider’... the fragile and broken heroes and heroines of my imagination. I often portray a protagonist in some degree of psychic suffering... variations perhaps on the 'Christs', the 'St Sebastians', the 'Joan of Arcs' of the imagination. They can often be dark protagonists, akin to the unusual personalities skirting Lynchian picket fences, or Polanskian interiors, or the searching souls in Tarkovskyesque landscapes. My interest is more akin to Gericault’s portrayals of, ‘A Kleptomaniac’, or, ‘A Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy’, than the perfect and ordinary representation of an individual. I need to see a cry for transformation in my protagonists.
My works are conceptual at root, involving multiple layers of thought and meaning, and rather than relying on sensory observations to make my paintings, I turn to the depths of the subconscious to conjure moods, feelings and psychological states. I often use Jungian ‘active imagination’ processes, transcendental meditation (of which I’ve been practicing for 20 years), or automatic writing, to find the necessary deeper images and clues.