R. Nelson Parrish
1979, Fairbanks, Alaska
R. Nelson Parrish approaches his art through the lens of what is natural vs. what is man-made.
Born and raised in Alaska, Parrish finds inspiration from the natural aesthetic of his home and from his current surroundings in southern California. This stems from his experiences with skiing racing, auto racing and surfing – that is, moving through landscapes at high speeds, which Parrish considers to be a calming, natural state. His work with color echoes this same experience.
Parrish’s art cues off his observation that most people find speed to be unnatural or discomforting, yet they operate in a fast-paced global society. By laying brightly colored racing stripes, fiberglass, and resin – which signify the synthetic – on top of natural wood grain, Parrish’s art pieces frame the juxtaposition between nature and the man-made.
Parrish’s work pulls from Minimalism, Finish Fetish, and the Light and Space Movement while adding to that discourse. His wall works and totems push the definitions of painting and sculpture being both and yet neither. Similarly, Parrish seeks to create a dialogue with his audience to answer the question of where the division lies between nature and the man-made.