oil on wood panel: 40 x 61 cm.
signed “Parkes” (lower right)
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Michael Parkes is a leading magical realist painter, sculptor, and stone lithographer.
Michael Parkes’ first one-man show was in Amsterdam back in 1977. Additional one-man exhibitions of Michael Parkes have taken place at Art Basel in Switzerland, Art Chicago, Art Fair NY, Frankfurt Bookfair, Amsterdam Art Fair, Tefaf Art and Antiques Fair Maastricht and numerous exhibitions in their galleries in Amsterdam and New York from 1977 onwards.
Though he studied graphic art and painting at the University of Kansas, his unique style evolved very much in isolation, after a period in which he gave up the practice of art altogether and went off to India in search of philosophical illumination: born in 1944, Michael Parkes was very much of the hippie generation.
Earlier on, Michael Parkes had painted in the generally Abstract Expressionist style normal among his teachers, but after his pause for reflection he began to draw and paint in a meticulous style of detailed representation which would enable him to give full expression to his inner world of images.
Michael Parkes has studied deeply in esoteric doctrine of the East and the West, and his imagery is drawn from a range of wisdoms including the Cabalistic and the Tantric, but embodied in forms from his own imagination which are immediately accessible.
Symbolism in the art work:
The subject of the painting symbolizes the journey of our psychic being on this earth. When we come to earth our psychic being becomes, in effect, captive. The young woman in this painting is however not captive but accompanied by a ‘guardian’, represented by the harlequin figure in the foreground. One could say she is guarded and protected by him, but she is free, her freedom also symbolised by the hummingbird, portraying the joy of life, the lightness of being, infinity and continuity. This freedom has its challenges though, which are symbolised by the monkey holding the lily next to the woman. The monkey is often portrayed in art as a symbol of mischief, shamelessness, desire and lust. In a way he might be trying to seduce the young woman with the lily, the flower in its turn symbol for purity, unity and fertility.
However, for now, all is in harmony; spring has arrived, a time of awakening and rebirth.