Spatial views/viewing spaces: In Vicken Parsons’ most recent pieces, usually painted in small formats on plywood with oil, neither people nor individual furnishings are depicted. These veduta-like paintings are all about reduction and stylization. They are purely internal spaces some of which are shown from unusual perspectives – sometimes even redolent of the strange lines of expressionist films of the 1920s – structured by means of geometric cubes as well as partitions only alluded to in contour lines – as if they had been pasted onto a 3D animation.
Whereas in the artist’s earlier series of paintings there were still dark environments in which windows lit up like eyes, this time it is the palette that is lightened up. What dominate are subtle gradations of shades of gray, enriched by a soft tinge of pink. A very few paintings have been dipped in a milky blue, and there is also a red bar that seems almost to be a sacrilege. Here is it is not about the almost transcendent luminescence that can be experienced in older pieces by Vicken Parsons but about a midday light whose direction of incidence can often not be discerned which can have a disruptive, irritating effect. By applying several thin coats of oil paint the artist creates irregularly primed surfaces resembling roughcast walls. So for all the formal regularity, there is also an attempt to avoid a hyperrealistic, clean representation in favor of a rough, more nonchalant stance.
Vicken Parsons has long found her own style. Her art consists of a ongoing effort to wrest new variations from the limited repertory of forms and color in nature and architecture. In this sense she resembles Giorgio Morandi.
And just like Morandi’s arrangements of bottles generate an intensity that has not been seen since the Baroque period, Vicken Parson’s paintings, all executed with minimum effort, radiate an enormous sensuality. It is a sensuality of emptiness, an aesthetic of desire that aimlessly drifts through non-echoing spaces. While professing to austerity and ‘poverty’, the artist’s stance allows the visual wealth of something not shown like a light on the horizon to become perceptible. Without wanting to overstrain comparison, there are indeed a few light rays of de Chirico’s pittura metafisica that fall onto Vicken Parson’s wooden boards. “These paintings do not roar, they whisper,“ as journalist Rachel Spence has noted about her art. And in this whisper they become more audible and visible than some paintings that make their appearance with great fanfare.
(Thomas Miessgang, 2016)
Schleifmühlgasse 1A, A-1040 Vienna