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Erik Parker

I will walk before I run

 

Erik Parker’s comically grotesque, neo-psychedelic paintings are a trip. Working under the influence of acid-rock posters, underground comics, Mad magazine, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Peter Saul and Ed Roth, who was known as Big Daddy, Parker has created a series of zany neon-bright imaginary portraits; goggle-eyed heads disintegrating into spaghettilike strands and countless little blobs. Around and behind them swirl the looping, candy-striped bands of delirious background geometry.

 Viewing Parker’s paintings is like seeing into a mirror through the eyes of a furiously hallucinating drug fiend. Parker, who was born in 1968, is a kind of latter-day Pop artist coolly playing with clichés of a bygone era, transforming visual junk into formally astute, high-end art. Besides being fun to look at, his works recall a time when using drugs to stretch consciousness to the brink of psychosis seemed like a fine idea to millions of young Americans. His take on the cult of creative lunacy is partly satiric, but his paintings still exude a mystically thrilling vibe.

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