John A. Parks, born 1952 in Leeds, England, 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 received his M.A.(R.C.A.) in Painting from Royal College of Art, London, England (1973-76), and his B.A. in Fine Art from Hull College of Art, Hull, England (1970 – 73).

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. 
 
ln recent 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  Paintings of trains, hunting scenes and monuments have recently been superseded my images of schoolyards and the pursuits of boyhood – cycling, exploring, fighting and camaraderie.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.”
 
Parks is currently working on a series of Putti paintings.  “Ever since the Romans dreamed them up putti have accompanied many kinds of imagery.  Rediscovered by Renaissance painters, they appear in countless works throughout the centuries, cheerfully mirroring and often exaggerating grownup behavior. Having worked on narrative paintings for the last few years, I’ve recently been using putti because they give me the opportunity to explore human gestures and interactions in a way that is playful, sometimes bizarre and strangely universal.   Using them often feels absurd or wayward but the possibilities for invention, humor and insight into human behavior seem compelling.  Putti are also mysterious beings; in the end none of the painters who used them knew who or what they are.  Neither do I.”

 

COLLECTIONS
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.

AWARDS | GRANTS
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
2015 “In New York”, 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York
2013 “Paint and Memory”, 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York
2008 
Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester VT
2005 
Allan Stone Gallery, New York
2002
 Cricket Hill Gallery, New York
2002
 Paul Smith, New York
1992
 Coe Kerr Gallery, New York
1991
 Louis Newman Gallery, Beverly Hills
1990
 Coe Kerr Gallery, New York
1987 
Allan Stone Gallery, New York
1984 
Allan Stone Gallery, New York
1982 
Allan Stone Gallery, New York
1979
 Segal Gallery, Boston
1977
 Allan Stone Gallery, New York

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2011 
Made in the UK. Contemporary British Art from the Richard Brown Baker Collection, 
Museum of the Rhode Island School of      Design
2008
 Chicago International Art Fair
2007 
Art Basel Miami Beach
2006 
Art Basel Miami Beach
2006
 Armory Show, New York
2004
 “Group” Allan Stone Gallery, New York
2000 
”Forty Years” Allan Stone Gallery, New York
2000 
”New Realism” Jenkins-Johnson Gallery, San Francisco
1999
 “Landscapes” Allan Stone Gallery, New York. Exhibition including work by de Kooning, Wayne Thiebaud, Franz Kline, Richard Estes and others
1998 
”London/Paris/New York” at the Beadleston Gallery, New York. An exhibition of cityscapes including work by Monet, Pissaro, Bonnard, Stuart Davis and others
1996 
Allan Stone Gallery, New York
1995 
Allan Stone Gallery
1994 
Hollis Taggart Gallery, Washington DC
1993 
Gerold Wunderlich Gallery, New York
1988 
Chicago International Art Exposition
1987
 Duke University, Durham, NC
1983
 Kornblee Gallery, New York
1972
 Royal Academy, London

SELECTED PRESS
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.