Over the Influence currently presenting Erik Parker: Good Luck

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Over the Influence currently presenting Erik Parker: Good Luck
Erik Parker, Good Luck, 2022, Acrylic and collage on canvas, 214.6 by 270.5 cm, 84 ½ by 106 ½ in, Photo courtesy of the Artist and Over the Influence

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.- Over the Influence is currently presenting Good Luck, a solo presentation of new works by Brooklyn- based artist Erik Parker. The exhibition has been on view since December 9, 2022, and will continue through January 15, 2023. This marks the artist’s return to Los Angeles after nearly a decade and the second showing with the gallery.

Good Luck encapsulates the breadth of Parker’s artist practice, showcasing planks, tondos, landscapes, and the pyramidal paintings he is celebrated for. Totems remain the earliest known work of ritual art; artisans created tondi since Greek Antiquity and become popular as round “tondo” paintings during the 15th century; pyramids are architectural marvels of impressive astronomical and geometrical expertise. Variously sacred, spiritual, and didactic, each is universally recognized and rich with symbolism. Parker utilizes this familiar form to continue the dialogue with painting and found images inspired by American subculture to rethink our current political, social, and economic landscapes.

Rebellious and youthful, and packed with an array of reference materials, Parker’s compositions are ultra-contemporary yet nostalgic and personal. Many feature vintage magazine clippings from the late 1970s to the early 1980s and each with his signature palette of personally mixed and named colors, using up to 200 different shades in each painting, creating powerful explosions of color.

The works in Good Luck, range from idealized landscapes to scenes featuring silhouetted “thinker” figures. The organized tiers that permeate a majority of the canvases, one of which is the United States map, each reveal a cross-sectional glimpse inside Parker’s highly efficient colony of clip art, cartoons, and cut-outs that are parading between different layers of pattern and gradients of spray. The result is boisterous, irreverent, and immediately recognizable.

Good Luck, the title piece of the exhibition, begins row by row, each segment of the pyramid is given a color before the pattern and spray start to give way to form. The rows are punctuated with seemingly repeated characters, as with the amorphous pink monster with bugging eyes and a pistol that scrolls through the central band. The creature’s hands turn into feet, and then into an arm with eyes, a pistol pops an eyeball, and peek-a-boo limbs emerge from every angle within their one-inch strip, revealing a suite of miniature monsters that are each entirely unique. Collaged items enliven the scene with visual and textural tonalites. Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow- toned comic book villains are interspersed with politicians, athletes, and a Michael Jackson in newspaper print. Vintage magazine pin-up girls sit near to the top of the pyramid, far above the miracle whip bottle clipped from a Sunday paper’s coupon booklet. The alchemic transformation of hyper-detail, with action, narrative, and intoxicating color offers moments of surprise and endless discovery. Parker prominently presents GOOD LUCK floating above the labyrinth of images in bubble gum balloon letters.

The dynamism and complexity of the artworks are heightened through Parker’s clever self- referential anecdotes. Pyramids appear floating in a sea between the ear and ocular recesses of a pensive lady in Nice Try and are eclipsed below the conjoining anatomies of New Bros. Planks punctuate the figure of the former, while the figures of New Bros are either emerging from or being supported by a kaleidoscopic vegetal landscape at its center. Almost a portal to the tondo Hippy Hollow, the central entry point gives way to a periscope perspective of this prehistoric acid- dipped landscape with a fisheye lens. As if acid emissions erupted from the volcanoes of Hippy Hollow to birth a primordial goo that seeps into the earth and air, andspawn new botanicals amongst the mystic lavender seas and sky of Purple Pathway.

The paintings in the exhibition characterize the ocular bombardment experienced through the inundation of visual sources and the cacophony of polarizing politics and media. Like a visual freestyle, Parker seamlessly combines elements of contemporary culture into a narrative flow of music, internet memes, hallucinatory dreams, conspiracy theories, and the raucous palette of vintage counterculture, Good Luck.

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