Posts Tagged ‘John A. Parks’


Avenues recent visits to the Paint and Memory exhibit by English painter John A. Parks was a fun experience with the children  immediately responding to the finger paintings.  They also toured the map paintings of London, pointing to places they knew or recognized by name.


Paint and Memory

Recent Paintings by John A. Parks

through February 16, 2013

In his recent pictures, executed as finger paintings, John Parks explores the memories of his English childhood in a series of richly evocative images. “In a sense I’m using a childish means to recreate a child’s world,” says the artist, “although the resulting paintings are far more sophisticated than those of a child.”  The lush surfaces, gloriously layered color and suggestive drawing work together to create a novel and intensely nostalgic vision. What is remembered are glimpses, sometimes idyllic and sometimes disturbing; cycling through a village on a summer’s day, playing hide-and-seek in a public park, the mayhem of an indoor swimming pool, the sudden formality of a Maypole dance. The limitation of painting with his fingers has forced Parks to simplify the descriptive tasks of the painting. “There is a certain indeterminacy with finger painting,” he says, “you are never exactly sure where an edge is going to go.  Chance events occur that you can edit out or leave in.  The process adds a richness and a very physical engagement with the paint.  Accidents can often be suggestive – they prod the imagination and provide a sense of discovery.  Every mark is truly an adventure.”


Also on view are three large-scale map paintings of London in which the artist manipulates space and point of view to provide a highly entertaining excursion through the streets of his native city. Presented from multiple viewpoints but lodged in a fairly accurate street plan, buildings, monuments, bridges and buses come alive in an unexpected and inventive fashion.

Educated at the Royal College of Art in London, Parks has made paintings over the last thirty years that have focused on themes of English life seen through expatriate eyes. The artist has lived for decades in New York and teaches at the School of Visual Arts.  Throughout that time the artist’s work has evolved expressively and stylistically. His early and intense realist work was closely associated with the realist revival but carried with it from the start a lyrical and intensely personal quality.  John Russell, writing in the New York Times, dubbed him “A true poet in paint and something of a find.”   In the mid eighties and nineties Parks adopted a larger scale approach to paint images of public monuments in a series of paintings that explored the unease of national identity and its attendant rituals.  These works included a highly irreverent series of English soldiers, often shown dancing or otherwise cavorting.

Parks has been represented by several major New York galleries including Allan Stone Gallery and Coe Kerr Gallery.  His work is included in a number of museum collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London and the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design. This exhibition marks his debut with 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel.

New York Times review by Roberta Smith

The New York Review of Books

Video: John Parks talks about his work

For more images and information :




John A. Parks



Born 1952 in Leeds, England

1973 – 76 M.A.(R.C.A.) in Painting, Royal College of Art. London, England.
1970 – 73 B.A. in Fine Art, Hull College of Art. Hull, England.

John A. Parks is a painter who has shown widely in the US and England over the last thirty years. His work is represented in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal College of Art Collection, the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design and many private collections.  He is a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Beginning with his meticulous but lyrical realist paintings in the late seventies Parks has concentrated on themes of English life and the broader issue of the relationship between personal and national identity. A long series of delicately romantic paintings in the eighties explored the English obsession with the transformational properties of gardening and landscaping.  In the late eighties and nineties Parks shifted his attention to British public imagery where he applied a whimsical, playful and sometimes alarming painterly attack to undermine and decode some of the nation’s most preciously held icons. 
For the last several years Parks has been using a finger painting technique – literally painting with his fingers – to explore the imagery that occupied his imagination as a child.  Paintings of trains, hunting scenes and monuments have recently been superseded my images of schoolyards and the pursuits of boyhood – cycling, exploring, fighting and camaraderie. “The recent work is all executed from memory,” says Parks. “And in using finger painting I’m using a childish method to explore childish things. For all that, these are far from childish paintings.  I’m amazed at the rich surfaces and evocative properties of the pictures I’m able to make this way. They are starting to feel like the very stuff of memory.  I’ve never been more excited about what I’m doing.”


Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Royal College of Art, London.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Numerous private collections.

1988. National Endowment for the Arts Grant.
1974. British Institute Award for Figurative Painting.
1974. Scholarship to Skowhegan School of Art, Maine.
1974. Fullbright Travel Grant.

Solo Exhibitions 
2012 Thomas Jaeckel, New York
Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester VT
Allan Stone Gallery, New York
 Cricket Hill Gallery, New York
 Paul Smith, New York
 Coe Kerr Gallery, New York.
 Louis Newman Gallery, Beverly Hills.
 Coe Kerr Gallery, New York.
Allan Stone Gallery, New York.
Allan Stone Gallery, New York.
Allan Stone Gallery, New York.
 Segal Gallery, Boston.
 Allan Stone Gallery, New York.

Selected Group Exhibitions
2012 Art Wynwood, International Contemporary Art Fair, Miami
Made in the UK. Contemporary British Art from the Richard Brown Baker Collection
Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Chicago International Art Fair
Art Basel Miami Beach
Art Basel Miami Beach
 Armory Show, New York
 “Group” Allan Stone Gallery, New York
”Forty Years” Allan Stone Gallery, New York.
”New Realism” Jenkins-Johnson Gallery, San Francisco.
 “Landscapes” Allan Stone Gallery, New York. Exhibition including work by de Kooning, Wayne Thiebaud, Franz Kline, Richard Estes and others.
”London/Paris/New York” at the Beadleston Gallery, New York. An exhibition of cityscapes including work by Monet, Pissaro, Bonnard, Stuart Davis and others.
Allan Stone Gallery, New York.
Allan Stone Gallery.
Hollis Taggart Gallery, Washington DC.
Gerold Wunderlich Gallery, New York.
Chicago International Art Exposition.
 Duke University, Durham, NC.
 Kornblee Gallery, New York.
 Royal Academy, London.

Reviews and articles on the work
New York Times 2012 Dec.14, Review of exhibition at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel by Roberta Smith.
Passport Magazine. Winter 2005-6. Major article with reproductions.
New York Sun. June 30th 2005. Review of the exhibition at Allan Stone Gallery.
Pulse Magazine. June 2005. Interview.
American Artist. May 1992. Major article with reproductions by Jane Cottingham.
ArtSpeak. February 1984.”John Parks at Allan Stone.”
New York Times. May 30th 1982. John Russell.
Arts Magazine, September and November 1978.

Teaching at the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY since 1979 as well as various visiting assignments.



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