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Review: Trude Parkinson’s ‘Elusives’ At Augen Gallery

Friday, September 26, 2014


From 'Elusives'. (Image cropped)

Both subtle and haunting, slightly shimmering in the light of the gallery, the many small pieces of Trude Parkinson’s newest collection of artworks, Elusives at Augen Gallery, invite the viewer to look and re-look in order to fully engage with them.  

The paintings and works on paper are done through an investigation of chemical processes and oxidization. Using metallic paints or silver leaf along with acidic solutions and waxes, Parkinson sets out on an exploration of materiality and the properties of paint, crafting colorful but subdued creations in the process. The textural surfaces of these paintings produced through her process are rich and layered, glowing and shifting with the light, hiding something below their surfaces.  

Within the majority of the pieces are depictions of body – whether in full or fragmented form. They are not detailed however, but exist as faint outlines, ghostly shadows of bodies not fully there. These shadows produce a dream-like vision of the reality they belong to, and invite us to take part and delve into their landscape. There is an allure to their haunting presence, and they ask us to consider their movement and fragility.     

There is a sense when looking at these paintings that you could look forever, that there are layers upon layers of color and process and tactility to recognize, that there must be something hidden.  

And in fact, upon your double take around the room, you will notice that concealed in the material are smaller scenes, little objects obscured by the color around them and lack of emphasis on their existence.  

In Mud Settles (2012), a piece that upon first encounter appears just a murky mixture of browns and blacks, there is a moment in looking that an eerie figure emerges, depending on the way the light hits it. Intriguing on its own, this compels the viewer to move closer, look within the material, and this closer viewing reveals a set of second hidden aspects: small, barely visible graphite drawings along the surface.      

These works are more than simply an experiment in material and chemical processes, and more than depictions of shadowed figures. They are an opening up of the absent, the parts not depicted, not shown, a questioning of what is present. They are investigations into the weight of the silhouette, and they replicate the ghostly space of encounter with our shadows, with what is not really there, with what is just a reminder or remnant of the real, lived body that produces it.  

The shadow acts as reflection, and we are compelled to understand its relations to ourselves.  

Trude Parkinson’s Elusives is showing at Augen Gallery (Destoto Building), 716 NW Davis, Portland. The show runs 11 a.m.- 5:30 p.m Tuesday- Friday and  Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. through Sep. 27. 


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