“My recent body of work explores the idea of liminality, of being suspended in between, or simultaneously on both sides of a threshold, place, idea, or category. Many feelings come along with this state of being, including uncertainty, displacement and isolation, but also autonomy and peace.”
- Nicole Parker
Nicole Parker’s oil paintings depict images that are on the verge of dreaming and wakefulness. The pictures are recognizable yet tend to drift into the uncanny valley – where what one sees looks to be natural and realistic but then morphs into a phantasmagoria of enigmatic imagery. Parker’s worlds contain houses, rooms, and vehicles that allude to a world made for humans, yet there are no people to be found. Rather, these spaces subtly summon the viewer to become the lone inhabitant of each scene.
Parker’s paintings are portals that allow a viewer to travel through conceptual thresholds into surrogate realities. One might find herself suspended on a subway ride between two unknown locations, or encountering a quiet scene during a time of day that appears to be both dusk and dawn. Subtle details take on significance such as the mysterious glow behind a window in Wee Hours or the looming shadow in the foreground of Untitled 2 that implies an object is hovering somewhere behind the viewer. In Skaftafell, a small trailer sits quietly in a field. A dog stares back from the darkened windows. In this case, the viewer may be enticed into considering the who, why and where of what is being observed. Or she may simply get carried away into an immersive, hypnotic and utterly alternative experience.
Nicole Parker received her BFA and Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in 2018. During her time at PAFA, she was a recipient of the Richard C. Von Hess Memorial Travel Scholarship, which allowed her a month of travel in Germany, the United Kingdom and Iceland to explore individual artistic pursuits of her choosing.
Nicole has also enjoyed making work and learning from other artists at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, Maryland, where she was previously an Artist in Residence, and is now a Printmaking Associate. She has exhibited her paintings and prints in numerous group exhibitions along the East Coast, including in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. She currently lives and practices in Maryland with her partner and their animals, a cat and a rat.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host Parker’s first solo exhibition in Philadelphia.
"My experiences and upbringing were eclectic and often culturally ambiguous, which has left me not only with perspective, but also with many questions about my own identity and how to define it. I often feel like I'm nowhere but also everywhere, like I'm wearing many hats but am always falling just short of an identifiable category."
"There are literally thresholds like doors and windows in my work right now, which are attractive to me because they mark a visual boundary between two different light or color worlds. I especially like it when the worlds conflict, but find ways to breach one another. I love human spaces like houses, buildings and public transport, and am interested in the 'footprints' and evidence of ourselves that we always manage to leave. Every place and object is a story or an artifact."
- Nicole Parker