Artist Statment 

I use materials as metaphor to conceptually focus on the effect of environmental pollutants on the body. My work records my thoughts and feelings on specific social or political events. This information is then filtered and distilled into a visual form that embodies the underlining emotion and tone. I see my work as a form of visual poetry that incorporates materials as metaphor.


My aesthetic draws on memories from living on the Gulf Coast of Texas and mirrors the power of that climate and region. Shapes and materials are fused together to create objects with multiple layers of visual and personal meaning. I create objects that reference my past, filtered through my present state of mind.


Materials in my work have a metaphorical significance.  Clay represents the body and biology; saltwater heals, preserves and destroys; and steel is the social and spiritual structure that we build our lives around. My clay forms are first soaked in saltwater to absorb the salt, just as the body absorbs the chemicals in its surroundings.  The clay objects are then placed onto steel plates where the salt causes the steel to oxidize. Steel is a material that is perceived as having great strength yet can be weakened by a material as simple as salt. The saltwater is also used as a medium with which to paint on the steel. The irony of the sculpture is that the same material that is used as the healing agent is also the catalyst for destruction.


I am at an exciting point in my work, where my use of symbolic materials is no longer limited to clay, salt and steel.  I use humble domestic objects, such as the spoon, in combination with substances, to make statements about our environmental and personal health. The work explores ideas about toxins and dioxins in our environment and our food sources. I use the spoon as a metaphor for consumption, and introduce elements such as salt and heat. Heat represents an unseen catalyst, which can change our genetic coding.  Heat, like salt, is a beneficial and necessary component of personal and environmental health but excess can create undesirable changes, which can speed up chemical reactions.  I use tarpaper as a symbol for industry, and to represent the driving force of our current political and economic system.


The key elements in my work are the concepts of time, change, and an element of the unknown. My work comes veiled under seductive surfaces and recognizable forms that are filtered through time and distilled down to simple poetic forms.  

© 2013 Rick Parsons  All rights reserved (Created with Sandvox)