PARKER GARVIN




Survey, 2021 Oil on canvas. 30 × 24 in.
Terminus, 2021. Oil on canvas. 24 × 36 in.

My practice hones in on oil paintings and ink illustrations to communicate narrative and metaphor. My work is driven by storytelling, exploring moral ambiguity and the sinister nature of the archaic tales designed to implant lessons. I use world building and continuity between pieces to make the work rich and rewarding. In a recent series, I tried to visually represent the appropriation of darker fables and mythologies into bright contemporary and artificial narratives. Often these corporate filtrations conceal so much about their source material that they lose the core of the narrative. My work tries to conceptualize what it would look like if the signatures of modern children’s media were to occupy the same space as the dark and unrelenting world of tradition.

While constructing my work, I focus on composition and staging, using the framing devices of cinema as an influence; these elements can convey tone and metaphor in and of themselves. The images I create are singular and static; they operate differently than filmic visuals, which use multiple frames to create a story. I want the work to feel like a doctored snapshot of a broader narrative packed to the brim with metaphor and color, which allows the viewer to imagine the story in between.

One of my broadest themes is the comfort one can find in the depictions of fear. The role of disturbing imagery in my work is not provocation but control. A corpse isn’t a corpse; it is panic, dread, anxiety—everything that keeps me up at night and propels me to create work in the morning. Fear is a useful tool, but it can overwhelm. My work is an attempt to reach within myself and locate the source of what makes me apprehensive, then trap it in my art, and maybe even inject a little humor.