"The art is tactile, meant to be touched and held, serving as an object of mindfulness that can be removed from its original context while still maintaining a palpable connection to the broader constellation. The objects are inseparable from their environment, leaving an unmistakable mark when removed, akin to a rock displaced from its natural place in the earth. The landscapes not only cradle the objects but also the spaces between them, pulsating with dynamic energy that keeps all forms in a delicate dance of tension and harmony. Underlying the sculptures lies the shadow of an enigmatic structure, providing the support upon which all contexts rest, much like the Earth’s mantle sustains the planet’s surface. We can only wonder at the immense, hidden forces that churn beneath, holding the stillness of the landscape at the surfaces.
These forms exist purely as themselves, devoid of any representation beyond their intrinsic qualities. They are formless, allowing for open interpretation without the constraints of a narrative, much like instrumental music. To describe these objects necessitates a discussion of their context, for the environment is forever altered when they are taken away and the various contexts in which these objects reside mirror the fluidity of the landscape. Some environments exhibit formal symmetry, such as the Henge or other human-made transformations, imbuing them with a significance we assign to them ourselves, others evoke the gentle movement of wind through grass. During the period of creation, forms emerged from my subconscious and materialized into tangible entities beneath my watchful gaze. The stone pieces stand as a testament to the rapid flash of an idea, conceived and executed without hesitation. Despite their immediacy, the antiquity of the stone material ensures that this fleeting moment is preserved indefinitely, frozen in time until it merges back into the very stone from which it was born.
These sculptures draw upon a multitude of dualities, juxtaposing shadow and light, surface textures, soft and hard, rough and smooth, shine and dullness; their scale and placement introduce a play of space, reminiscent of subatomic particles, thoughts, ideas, and time. At the human scale, they evoke the dynamics of family constellations and the cosmic interplay of planets in the vast firmament. Collectively, this body of work serves as a deeply personal and non-narrative expression of a five-year journey through the darkest period of my life to embracing roles both as a husband and a father. It is about reconciliation and a tentative exploration of my own spirituality and a consciousness of God in a sensory manner, much like lifting rocks in the stream of life, searching for whatever the universe has concealed underneath."
There rolls the deep where grew the tree.
O earth, what changes hast thou seen!
There where the long street roars, hath been
The stillness of the central sea.
The hills are shadows, and they flow
From form to form, and nothing stands;
They melt like mist, the solid lands,
Like clouds they shape themselves and go.
But in my spirit will I dwell,
And dream my dream, and hold it true;
For tho’ my lips may breathe adieu,
I cannot think the thing farewell.
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam, Section 123)
Joel Parkes was the first artist we showed at Connolly when we opened Clifford Street in 2016 and we have always sold and carried his work since. I am so honoured that he has agreed to show this new body of work, Landscapes, and his first purely sculptural show with us this winter.
Joel is an artist exploring landscape through abstract objects and their setting. He uses marble, semi-precious stones, wood, gold, pewter, and brass to create a universe that represents the complex contexts within us. Through his art, he offers a contemplative experience, by touch and sight - reaching into our imagined internal landscape.