Erik ParraSan Francisco, CA
Lately I have been mining vintage, popular books and magazines for pictures that depict the development of modern America. I then work these pictures into collage, drawings, paintings and sculptural objects that seek to question notions of American authenticity. I am particularly interested in sourcing images fertile with possibilities for subtle narrative or contextual contradiction. I create familiar feeling images of spaces in which scientists, beauty queens and professional athletes can engage in productive democratic experiments.
Viewing contemporary social concerns through the lens of history I take liberties with American cultural narratives as a departure point for larger conversations in which tropes associated with physical mobility operate as metaphors for social mobility. Working contrasts such as meticulous and random material applications, black and white with color; allows me to cultivate visually engaging experiences that draw on the tension between control and chaos while capitalizing on the energy created when they collide. Relationships of color, speed, time and weight, in addition to a host of other variables (some controllable and some contingent), all affect success, progress and ultimately our lives.
Erik Richard Parra is a San Francisco based artist, curator, educator and writer. He received his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, on fellowship. Erik has exhibited his work internationally, including Berlin, Brazil, Chicago, London and New York. In the Bay Area, Erik has exhibited at Southern Exposure, The Headlands Center for the Arts, Blankspace Gallery, Root Division and most recently at Johansson Projects.
Erik’s work questions the relevance of American authenticity by examining the tensions between; the meticulous and the contingent, history and desire, and black & white and color. A study in contrasts and a contrarian from day one, Erik is a mix tape of jazz, hardcore and hip-hop and relishes nothing more than the beauty that can be found in things that are dark.
Additionally, Erik teaches art, curates exhibitions and has been writing critically about the activities of Bay Area artists for local and national publications.