“With purpose and passion, Parrish…brings art and athleticism into graceful contact.
That is rare and inspiring. It’s also the mark of Parrish’s originality.”
-David Pagel, Art Critic, LA Times
R. Nelson Parrish approaches his art as a means of reconciling an ongoing investigation into the subtle contrasts between the natural and man-made conditions and states. Born and raised in Alaska, Parrish finds inspiration in both the rugged elements of his native home and his current surroundings in urban southern California. Drawn directly from his experience skiing, racing and surfing—that is, shifting through landscapes at high speeds—the artist translates the blur of movement into brilliant flashes of color which he appropriately entitles, racing stripes. Thickly layering clear and semi-translucent resin, fiberglass and intense band of pigment onto planks of boldly grained native woods in suspended positions above, adjoining and against one another, Parrish provokes in us the desire to plumb the depths to seek out and discern the synthetic from the natural.
Recognizing the increasing speed at which the global society operates, Parrish is keen to observe the skill to induced disengagement from the tumult and seeming chaos of participants in adrenaline sports — a means to draw upon singular focus to the present.
Translating this practice into his work, Parrish seeks to create transcendent totems that balance between painting and sculpture being both and yet neither. Pulling from the discourse initiated with Finish Fetish and the Light and Space Movement, he redefines the dialogue and crafts objects of great radiance built from wood, attempting to cast transitory color with solidity and weight.
It is in this way for the artist, that high speed is a phenomenon of contrasting juxtaposition, melding of the raw forces of nature with highly articulated skills into effortlessly sublime action. Combining refreshing adrenaline with relaxing terror. Parrish seeks to create works that are a visual translation of these synergies. Landscape, object and movements fuse into one.
R. Nelson Parrish earned his BFA from the University of Nevada-Reno and his MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara.