Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison/ Autumn Dean

Going to my first professional artist talk I really didn't know what to expect.  Listening to Shana and Robert talk about their lives as artists was just very eye opening.  I love the way they use "The Everyman" in their earlier work and how they have moved their new body of work to compliment their older work.  I found it very interesting that they let their surrounding landscapes of where they live influnce them.  Many of their pieces are strong to me because of the use of the narratives and sculptures.  I find it so interesting that they do more with their photography.  The fact that I can actually hold these dream like things that are in their photos tickle my brain. They put so much thought and work into each photo.  I think it is easy to get behind someones work when you can see the amount of time and thought that goes into a piece.  Also the craftsmanship behind there sculptures and their sets show you the extra amount of work in each piece. When they moved their process to color the fact that they are both from painter backgrounds helps so much.  The way they present their color photography makes you feel like you are viewing a painting and not a photograph. The process they use to depict this is by printing on a paper with torn edges and painting a wax layer over they photograph.  It gives the photograph a buffed glossy feel to it.  It creates the layers that you would see on a painting. These two photographers put their hands into their work through each process and deserve so much respect for their work.   I have really fallen in love with this power couple even more after hearing them talk about their lives as artists.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sandi Dooley reviews Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Selections from the Architect's Brother Series, #1

On January 24, 2014, I visited Trinity University to view nineteen images from Selections from the Architect's Brother Series, by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, who use environmental performances, photomontage, sculpture, photography, painting, and printmaking to make their images. Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison are a married couple who have worked together for almost 20 years. Their works are exhibited at Trinity as part of the University's Stieren Arts Enrichment Series, located in the Michael and Noemi Neidorff Art Gallery in the Dicke Art Building. The images poetically depict the impact of man and technology on the environment, using the photogravure process. 

To view the rest of the images from the Architect's Brother, as well as other work from Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, see their outstanding website, ROBERT AND SHANNA PARKEHARRISON. There is a section of the website with Selected Articles and Reviews. In one of the articles, by Jonathan Stead, from Ag, The International Journal of Photographic Art and Practice, Spring 2011|Number 63, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison were generous in sharing how they conceptualized and made the Architect's Brother images. Steade describes what we imagine to be a "post-apocalyptic world", where there is a  "character called 'Everyman' (Robert) who seems to be endlessly attempting to mend the broken landscape that he alone inhabits". My favorite image was Exhausted Globe, gravure, bee's wax, 1997, where Robert is squatting on old pieces of lumber, leaning against the sky, attempting to repair the sky while perched on an earth that looks like a twine and stick wrapped heart, belching clouds. The sets in these images were researched, well planned, and illustrated extensively before building. Adjustments were carefully made along the way. 

When Steade briefly describes Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison's processes in his article, it is apparent that making one of these images was quite complicated. He describes a process of using paper negatives, paper positives, drawing, and contact printing, collaging separate images together, where they were able to get the individual elements just right. After that, he describes a painting process with many layers of washes.