The Louis K. Meisel Gallery is pleased to announce High Gloss, an exhibition of recent paintings by the still life painter David Parrish. Nearing his fifth decade as a Photorealist, Parrish’s Americana-themed still lifes are readily identifiable by his close examination of glossy and reflective surfaces. From his earliest paintings of motorcycles to his paintings of amusement park rides and ceramic souvenirs, Parrish’s subjects are simultaneously contemporary, and yet, reminiscent of the artist’s boyhood. High Gloss features a selection of nostalgia-invoking subjects that explore the artist’s fascination with transparent veneers.
In the 1970s, Parrish, an Alabamian, caught the attention of New York gallerists with his depictions of motorcycles on solid-colored, flattened backgrounds. Although he came of age in the era of Abstraction, Parrish was drawn to realism, and it was there that he found the undulating lines and curves that were so sought after by those who had rejected imagery. Although his early works were reminiscent of Pop Art, Parrish’s interests remained tied to the more formal elemental qualities of his subjects; thus, he painted his motorcycles at close-up range to focus on the distinctive lines and shapes that appealed to him. Parrish painted a range of subjects thereafter, many of which were reflective and that posed artistic technical challenges.
His most recent body of work is a return to his origins. Painting motorcycles once again, Parrish has come to this subject with renewed vigor. Juxtaposed against neutral backgrounds, his vividly-colored motorcycles spring off the surface of his canvases. Through the use of photographic references, Parrish is able to hone in on the subtle reflections refracting from the surface of the motorcycles’ well-polished chrome and glossy fairings. Not merely flat planes of color, these reflections create unexpected shapes, lines, and light and dark hues, all of which would have been impossible to see and accurately render without the stop-action assist of the camera. As with his earlier work, photography has influenced the compositional framing of these bikes; many of his subjects run off the edges of the canvas, placing ever-more focus on the individual components of the bike. When viewed altogether, it is easy to see how motorcycles captured Parrish’s imagination as a child.
Accompanying his latest works are a selection of paintings from his earlier series of Americana ceramic jars and toys. Capturing subjects such as jazz musicians, Humphrey Bogart, and Clark Gable, these paintings evoke another era in time.