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University of Southern California Fisher Museum Staff Selma Holo Director Kay Allen Associate Director Ariadni A. Liokatis Curator Stephanie Kowalick Registrar/Collections Manager Juan Rojas Chief Preparator Ralph Gatchalian PR and Administrative Assistant Catalogue Design Haven Lin-Kirk

Š 2014 USC Fisher Museum University of Southern California University Park Campus Los Angeles, CA 90089-0292 All rights reserved. No part of this catalogue may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of The Fisher Museum except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in review.

All images are courtesy of the artist.

Richard Parker

Poetic Illusions


Director’s Preface

Selma Holo


Curator’s Essay

Ariadni A. Liokatis

10 Artist Statement

Richard Parker

30 Artist Exhibition History


Director’s Foreword

We are extremely pleased to present Los Angeles artist Richard Parker at the USC Fisher Museum of Art. It is, indeed, a privilege to showcase Richard’s outstanding charcoal, chalk and pastel drawings, and to celebrate his remarkable talent and unique vision in our Spring 2014 exhibition titled “Richard Parker: Poetic Illusions.” I have long recognized and admired Richard’s superb skills as a draftsman, but have been especially enchanted by his ability to transform the quotidian in our material culture, with its otherwise forgettable content, into a source of pure aesthetic delight. On the other hand, Richard’s landscapes offer his unique view of nature, one that is poetic and conducive to contemplation, and that takes us away from our ordinary way of looking and often, not seeing. I am especially drawn to the authenticity, purity, and unmitigated character that shines thorough Richard Parker’s work. At Fisher we have closely followed Richard’s artistic career and collected his work for many years. His landscapes, pastel sticks and other works in the museum’s permanent collection are also being regularly enjoyed by our USC community through our campus loan program. I invite you to join me as we honor and recognize artist Richard Parker with this semester-long exhibition and the exciting special programs that accompany it. Selma Holo Director, USC Fisher Museum of Art Professor, Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences, Art History

08 Richard Parker: Poetic Illusions “Richard Parker: Poetic Illusions.” presents charcoal, chalk, and pastel drawings of Los Angeles artist Richard Parker. Spanning the last two decades, the exhibition features landscapes and works from the Pastel Sticks, Walls, Collages, and Hardware series. Parker’s landscapes, while non-realistic and stylized, depict hilly scenery inspired from the Southern California areas of Pasadena, South Pasadena, Silverlake, and Highland Park. The originality of Parker’s landscapes resides in the simple, although highly controlled, geometric and linear forms that convey a reflective or pensive mood and a sense of quietness. These charcoal drawings are executed in a vertical format and offer a fluid and visually dynamic composition where rocks, shrubs and trees contrast with the flattened space of the ground in a play of light and dark. Contemplative and poetic in character, Parker’s landscapes offer a respite from the hectic pace of today’s city life. The artist credits the influence of the San Francisco hillsides of Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings in his more recent Southern California landscapes, while also appreciative of Richard Diebenkorn’s work. Regarding other artists who played a major role in his evolution as an artist, Parker points out that his early landscapes were influenced by the abstract landscapes of Georgia O’Keeffe and

Arthur Dove: “I loved the way they could balance the ‘real’ with the abstract and make it their own…[and] what impressed me the most about Edward Hopper and Giorgio de Chirico was the contemplative quality they were able to evoke in their work. That was certainly something I wanted to do and it was a major influence on my work.” Parker’s Pastel Sticks series originated when the artist fashioned small-scale three-dimensional compositions out of used and broken pastel sticks to serve as models to create 30 x 44-inch drawings rendered in pastel. Attracted to the sculptural quality of the colorful sticks and endless compositional possibilities, Parker started the series fifteen years ago and created more than two hundred drawings and paintings. The artist playfully arranges the irregular geometric forms in vertical, horizontal, or diagonal patterns, or in a nod to Minimalist artist Donald Judd’s strict vertical geometric arrangements. Parker’s drawings, smooth and even textured, are playful, colorful, and sculptural. The artist imbues his fascination for rendering these ordinary sticks with a witticism by using the pastels both as subject and medium in a highly original visual pun. Parker points out that he has never lost, not even once, his enthusiasm for this series; the pastel sticks, in the form of

small broken sticks or their endings, remain a fascination for the artist. Parker’s Hardware series depicts familiar objects such as electrical wall outlets, light switches or D-ring hangers. Executed in charcoal and chalk, the artist’s precise drawings reveal subtle shadows and a meticulous definition of lines, contours and rendition of form. These common and familiar objects, rendered in a tenfold scale, become beautiful sculptural compositions. Parker endows these prosaic and unexceptional, often invisible and certainly unusual subject matters, with a visually compelling and arresting quality. Parker’s fascination with visual illusions is equally obvious in his masterly renderings of the textural character of a range of commonplace items— namely objects culled from his kitchen drawer or art box—in a series of pastel, charcoal, and chalk on paper compositions titled Collages. Starting with 5 ½ x 4-inch assemblages of these found items, Parker uses these maquettes as models for larger drawings, reveling in the challenge to achieve the visual illusion of any texture, be it metal, plastic, or paper. Parker enjoys creating small 2 x 3-inch graphite drawings and “seeing them become 30 x 44-inch ‘monumental’ charcoals or pastels.” Parker’s Walls series in charcoal and chalk is a recent body of work depicting shadows cutting

across single or multiple white walls. With a three-dimensional quality, these intriguing drawings of walls receding into shadow reiterate Parker’s mastery with geometric accuracy, carefully articulated play of shadow and light, and subtle variations of blacks, grays and whites. The genesis for the Walls drawings dates several years back when Parker—on a day walking across the USC campus—came upon a visually intriguing sight of a wall with a shadow cutting across, which prompted him to start the series. The abstracted wall drawings, enigmatic in character, consistently incorporate a black void in the background that prevents any identification as to their location or the source and nature of the light falling on the wall—be it moonlight, sunlight or artificial lighting. Richard Parker’s drawings are altogether original, dimensional and pristine. Defined by geometry and exquisitely and masterfully executed, the artist’s works possess a visually commanding character, combined with a quiet, subtle elegance while also endowed with a poetic quality. Ariadni Liokatis Curator, USC Fisher Museum of Art


Visual art is like music without the lyrics, as it is more about feeling than words. My hope is that my work, whether it is of pastel sticks, a wall, landscape or light switch, will take viewers beyond words to a contemplative state within themselves. Richard Parker

Wall with Mural of Wall 2013 Charcoal and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

30 x 44 in.


Two Walls, 2013 2013 Charcoal and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

30 x 44 in.


‘2013 Charcoal and chalk on Rives BFK paper 30 x 44 in. Gift of the Artist Collection of the USC Fisher Museum of Art

Four Walls, 2013 2013 Charcoal and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.


Single Wall, 2012 2012 Charcoal and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.


Wall Outlet 2010 Charcoal and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.

D-Ring Hanger 2009 Charcoal on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.

On, 2013 2013 Charcoal and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.


Highland Park, 1999 1999 Charcoal on paper 44 x 30 in. Courtesy of the Artist

South Pasadena, 2013 2013 Charcoal on paper 44 x 30 in. Courtesy of the Artist

Pasadena, 1999 1999 Charcoal on paper 44 x 30 in. Courtesy of the Artist

Silverlake, 2002 2002 Charcoal on paper 44 x 30 in. Courtesy of the Artist


Untitled 1986 Mixed media Courtesy of the Artist

5 ½ x 4 in.

Collage #3 1993 Pastel, charcoal, and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.

Collage #10 1994 Pastel, charcoal, and chalk on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.


Pastel Sticks #88 2003 Pastel on paper 44 x 30 in. Courtesy of the Artist

Pastel Sticks #20 1997 Pastel on paper Courtesy of the Artist

30 X 40 in.


Pastel Sticks #182 2011 Pastel on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.

Pastel Sticks #58 2003 Pastel and charcoal on paper Courtesy of the Artist

30 x 44 in.


Pastel Sticks #172 2009 Pastel on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.

Pastel Sticks #43 2000 Pastel on paper Courtesy of the Artist

44 x 30 in.


Richard Parker


Selected Solo Exhibitions 2014 “Richard Parker: Poetic Illusions,” USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. 2006 “Pastel Sticks,” USC Orange County Center, Irvine, CA. 2003 “Richard Parker Unframed: Charcoal and chalk drawings, 1982-2003,” Transport Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. 2002 “A Black and White Affair: New perspectives of the Southern California landscape,” Joseph Gierek Fine Art, Tulsa, OK. 1998 “Pastels and Charcoals,” Perkins and Will, Pasadena, CA.
 1996 “Richard Parker: Paintings,” Evelyn Siegel Gallery, Fort Worth, TX.
 1994 “Works on Paper,” Strings Gallery, Fort Worth, TX.
 1989 “Recent Work, ” Barclay Simpson Fine Arts Gallery, Lafayette, CA.
 1988 “Abstractions,” Gallery de Analco, Santa Fe, NM.
 1987 “Recent Drawings,” Pacific Grove Art Center, Pacific Grove, CA.
 1985 “Recent Work,” Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

Selected Group Exhibitions
 2013 (Southern) California Drawing, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA.

2003 “Electric,” Transport Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

2010 “Multiple Universes,” Pasadena City College Art Gallery, Pasadena, CA.

2002 “Texas National 2002,” The Art Center, Nacogdoches, TX.

2006 “Then and Now: Highlights from the USC Fisher Gallery collections,” Los Angeles, CA

2001 “Realism 2001,” The Cultural Center of Fine Arts, Parkersburg, WV.

2004 25th Annual Venice Art Walk, Venice, CA.
 2004 “Up Close and Impersonal,” Platt Gallery, University of Judaism, Bel Air, CA.
 2003 Five-Person Show, ARSG, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. 2003 Cambridge Art Association National, Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, MA. 2003 “Peter Frank Selects...,” Don O’Melveny Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
 2003 “Just Charcoal,” Works on paper, Fine Arts Gallery, Golden West College, Huntington Beach, CA.

2001 “Texas National 2001,” The Art Center, Nacogdoches, TX. 2000 “National Landscape Invitational,” Canyon Road Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM.

Richard Parker: Poetic Illusions  

Richard Parker's Spring 2014 exhibition at the USC Fisher Museum of Art features remarkable charcoal, chalk, and pastel drawings spanning th...