Bruce Parsons

28 March 1981 - 10 April 1981
Opening Reception 28 March 1981 8pm

Front Gallery:

Multi-media Installation

The new work of Bruce Parsons includes an installation piece with chocolate hats and some small scale paintings which feature images of animals. They are being shown for two weeks at the artist-run Mercer Union Gallery, opening on Saturday, March 28, 1981 from 12:00 – 6:00 pm.

These works have grown out of installation and environmental works of the past few years. The introduction of animal and other shapes in these paintings focuses on a play upon archetypal images. They allow for a clarity of intention similar to that found in some ancient cultures and similar to those found in the work of Inuit artists.

The image in these works begins with the support structure which is either oval, egg-shaped or circular. They rush out from the wall like the belly of a man or woman or like a mask or a shield. This shape acts as the environment or metaphor for the whole world. The surface has a sensual coating of wax and oil paint over a 3 dimensional base of basketry, gesso and canvas. Cut into these surfaces or imbedded in them are shapes cut out of brass, bone, wood and stone. The animal images include the frog, whale, bird, snake, turtle and things such as a ladder, boat, house, aircraft, hats and others. However, it is in the way these images are combined that we find the particular meaning of the work.

Each one is a mini-environment where a small action or personal drama is played out. The shape, color and images are responses to the personal anxieties and fulfillments of the artist. Hopefully the emotional base is broad enough to be shared with others. Perhaps the most these works can do is question the over-emphasis of the formal and material qualities of much modern art. If the new paintings are successful it is because they offer a greater degree of content which refers to human relationships.

Bruce Parsons has exhibited widely in Canada. He shows in a variety of media. Principle interest is in the area of painting but other works include video, graphics and installation pieces. He was born in Montreal, studied at OCA in Toronto and has taught in Halifax, Regina, Banff and Newfoundland. He is currently teaching at York University and lives in Toronto. Travels over the past few years to Newfoundland, Mexico, Guatemala and Egypt have provided sources for the work in this exhibition.