Artist Profile: Denzel Parks

Art and the City

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It’s the eyes. They strike you. Grab your attention. The hands are expressive—moving, but never in complete focus: they are not posing or frozen in a clear photographic moment.  The body, what you see of it, is an expression of a physical being. It’s not quite an individual identity, but it’s curiously familiar. More like a personality veneer.

You can look at them closely or fleetingly and you get fleeting glances in return—looking directly at you or beyond. The eyes are defensively noncommittal, but that is when the connection begins. It’s a shared feeling. A mood. He says his figures sometimes reflect his mood, but can also influence it at times.

For Denzel Parks, his work is all about the natures that define the human experience…a “conglomerate of moments from day to day life.” He conveys these emotion-filled moments by color—and, of course, by color contrasts. The obvious contrasts, warm-cool and light-dark grab our attention, but it is the contrasting elements of “saturation” and proportion, the effect of large and small color areas, that provide the power.  He moves patches of heavy darks and light yellows to create tension or relief. He often includes plants in compositions to establish a more relaxed mood.

Denzel is a Detroit native who studied graphic design and art history at Eastern Michigan University. He worked as an independent multimedia designer before turning to painting full time.

He has recently joined the Foundry Gallery and is showing there in February. See: At the Galleries.

The cover art for the Hill Rag this month is a Denzel Parks painting, “Will See Us Through.”

Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art
A feeling doesn’t need an idea, it can simply be an emotion: alarm or joy and everything in between. Conversely, an idea doesn’t need to be happy or sad, passionate or sorrowful, it can be calculating or merely logistical. But when ideas and emotions come together, sparks can fly. Lightning can flash. Thunder can boom.

Usually, art is just a pleasant thing. Pretty pictures. You feel good…there is nothing new or threatening in the way of ideas. Life is a walk in a meadow, tip toeing through the tulips.

Of course, a flash of lightening can be illuminating. Occasionally, art and ideas become so enmeshed as to shake the viewer as nothing else can: Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel explicates a theology more than any epistle could ever define or glorify. The Idea becomes supernatural as human forms explode through the heavens with impossible power and grace. That is true of art of other religions or social orders.  The artists are masters of emotion.

But a lightening flash can also burn and destroy; art can smother the truth and burn holes though the fabric of a time and place.  Some of the best propaganda has been devised by the wizards of glorification for the exaltation of a false ideal.

Visual arts, music, poetry, and theater can advance either noble or evil ideas with great subtlety to advance a national identity or with stirring, gripping sensations that compel you to march off to war. Why? What exactly are these arts and why so much power?

That is the secret deep in the human core, isn’t it? It is so ancient. The art of the cave was not decoration. It was ritual. Certainly accompanied by whistles to invoke the powers of the winds, drums that recreated the hoof beats of running aurochs and vocals that retold the roar of lions or the wonders of life.

Alarm and joy, passion or sorrow. Why so much power?

Foundry Gallery
2008 – 8th St., N.W.
Feb. 4 – 27
Recep:  Feb 5,  6-8

This is a “New Member” show featuring Denzel Parks. (See Artist Profile)

Denzel describes his work as a conglomerate of moments from day-to-day life, not completely defined by the past, present, future or a single subject matter. His work focuses on exploring and representing the human experience in its entirety. He does this through enigmatic abstracted form and color—“how color can be altered to evoke, express and capture a certain mood or emotion.”

www.foundrygallery.org.    www.denzelparks.com.

2022 Regional Juried Exhibit

Hill Center Galleries

921 Penn Ave. SE

— March 2

This is really a terrific show. 157 artists from the DC, Maryland and Virginia metropolitan area submitted original work and 118 pieces were selected. And fine works they are. From paintings to prints to photography to silk paintings to gold embroidery threads to ink on paper, just about every medium is here. Artistic styles and techniques represent just about everything going on in the art world today (except sculpture.)   Prize winners will be selected and difficult decisions will have to be made by the juror, Arts Consultant Claude Elliot. This is a virtual exhibit and you will need to view and buy at hillcenterdc.org/galleries.

National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Note: The building is temporarily closed, so this is a Virtual Opening: Consult the website for ticket information.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–ca. 1654) is the best-known woman painter of the 17th century. Born in Rome, she was trained in drawing and painting by her father, Orazio Gentileschi, a follower of Caravaggio.

She is championed for her dramatic and naturalistic renderings of famous female figures such as Cleopatra and Venus. She was a successful court painter and the first woman accepted into the prestigious Accademia delle Arti del Disegno. Her paintings are held in museum collections around the world.

On a personal note:  You can watch the very short video (85 sec.) for my historical fiction novel, The Dead Man on the Corner.  https://youtu.be/bQad2_Ck78Q

You can buy the book on both Amazon and Barnes and Nobel, along with my other new historical fiction novel, John Dillinger and Geronimo. See:  

www.JamesJohnMagner.com.