ANTHONY J PARKE/ARTIST

In his new series entitled Echoes & Reveries, created over the span of 2022, Anthony J. Parké examines his own personal history, culture and identity, treating painting as a transformative act of discovery and connection. He often references his own cultural tapestry of English, Indian, Irish and Persian heritage, and a sense of alienation which stems from this. But of equal interest in the interplay between the human experience of suffering and survival, brought about through a tumultuous period in his early life.

 

The London-based artist’s work has developed to include themes within an Eastern and Western tradition, often generating landscapes that depict a sense of existential malaise. His paintings are populated by spectral figures, ethereal vignettes of semi-absent entities which appear to drift in and out of reality and abstraction. The deconstruction of these amorphous figures propel both the artist, and the audience towards populating the void with a new presence. These figures, coveted from magazines and newspaper cuttings, imagery from the web, or personal photos of family, often appear as haunting, dreamlike depictions of some unnameable darkness. These are paintings filled with secrets and mysteries, with desires and premonitions.

 

Everyday objects like sewing machines, temples, birds; elephants and damask curtains; spinning tops and fighting kites, appear embedded throughout his paintings. In some sense these objects seem emblematic of the multiple cultures he has inherited, as well as the faded recollections from a distant past. The spiral staircase, which frequently appears throughout his paintings, both past and present, seem reminiscent of Piranesian nightmares, or Escher-like unfathomable complexities. There is a fascination for journey and transformation in this imagery. The spiral staircase becomes a metaphor for the indecipherable entrails of a mixed-race heritage, the complexities of human existence, whilst simultaneously embracing the notion of the transcendent self, beyond the componentry elements of a life of darkness and disillusionment. In a sense the helical stairs contain the redemptive power to elevate the spectral apparitions beyond their fractured worlds. In this sense, these paintings are transcendent, ultimately filled with elevation and light, navigating a subtle interplay between the empirical and the ethereal.

 

Britain's eminent art historian and critic, Edward Lucie-Smith, wrote of his early works as “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.” Lucie-Smith’s sentiments wouldn't be far out of place in his current series.


Parké’s work is held in the private collections across Russia, US, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, and Europe.