Miranda Parkes's painterly language is primarily abstract, whilst also being based very much in the world around her. Her work plays deftly with issues of figure and ground, folding depth into surfaces we know to be flat, but she also speaks frequently of its humanity, its references to the body, to architecture and the strictures of support and frame.
In relationship status, we see Parkes exploring all these aspects of her painting. In the big perspex tile work tinder, Parkes plays with notions of figure and ground, teasing us with quite literally what is at the front and the back of the painting. Each tile is brushed in a light painterly way with different coloured gold and silver, to reflect light and keep our eye roaming over the composition. Usually the metals are applied to the front. Sometimes the colour of the perspex shows through - green and red in the main. Then craftily, Parkes flips some of the tiles so we see through the coloured acrylic to the painting behind or beneath. Really simple. But visually, the transparency lends depth and a flickering play of presence and absence alluringly within and across the painting.
In mister piggy, Parkes also works dexterously with her support. This time however, it is not perspex that gets the treatment, but a recycled compressed wood pallet. It is a very sculptural ground, boasting what could be described as nine snouts. Each is sensitively painted a different colour, part pastel part fluoro, and related to the ground from which it is extruded. It is a stunning object, I think - a tour de force.
The raised areas of a small piece of bitumen embossed paper (run over on the road) are treated with similar care and gravitas in brass in pocket. The scale is different, but the same breadth of form and eye-catching installation either side of a protruding corner, give gatecrasher real architectural heft.
The suite of framed collages, Later Italian Painting, is more intimate and more of the body. Here, 'body' alludes in part to the presence of illustrated book pages beneath each collage which, when occasionally revealed through the metal foils and acrylics, happily anchor the colour and exuberance of Parkes' compositions. These works are human and vital - the hand of Parkes' daughter Ollie also here to be enjoyed.
There are many relationships gestured towards in this exhibition. From the lyrical rhythms of french kisser to the fluorescent heat of the title work, their various consummation brings consistent pleasure.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.