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  • 11th May 2014

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Anthony Parke: Catto Below

Anthony J. Parke's work begins with a fascination for the simple beauty within everyday natural objects. He spent most of his early life foraging the overgrown lands of an abandoned railway which ran the back of his house. There was always a fascination at the sight of 'colossal' dragonflies hovering, a fascination for the glistening skins of frogs and toads darting through undergrowth, of finding hibernating newts buried beneath mounds of earth, reanimating from stasis. There was a fascination for the wild apples and pears, foraging for berries; the endless summers hurling sticks into trees bringing horse chestnuts crashing to the ground.

This was a kind of ideal. But there also existed a conflict with this vision. At the same time, he grew up with a ever-increasingly tormented brother. Slowly he watched an illness ravage his brother's beauty and the beauty around him.

His brother James destroyed all things related to glass: wine glasses, windows, mirrors, ashtrays, light bulbs, televisions, bottles, reading glasses. The family aquarium was an ideal, something peaceful, beautiful and exotic.

When his brother exploded it‘s glass façade he learnt how ephemeral beauty could be. Within the gushing water he saw an array of fish and shattered glass come crashing to the floor, fish gasping and flailing in a fused image of beauty and destruction.

This image of beauty beside destruction has fascinated Anthony ever since, in particular that of glass and its metaphorical relationship to beauty and destruction. While such incidences are a thing of the past, glass appears in all his paintings.

Now glass has been reconstructed into an ideal state, as something whole and beautiful and as a metaphorical means of capturing and preserving natural beauty, of depriving life of its unstoppable tendency to tear down matter, to destroy beauty and return it to the earth.


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