Joel Parkes

Joel Parkes
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Joel Parkes

Responding to the curatorial concept of Transfiguration for Guilded’s exhibition at Collect 2018, Parkes created an installation rich in dialogue and meaning.

ECLOSION consisted of a group of objects exploring the notion of Transfiguration as a single organic entity evolving through its life-cycle.

At its core were three vessels hand-carved from the same oak tree expressing, through a single form, the stages of fertility, pregnancy and rebirth. The vessels were grouped with ancillary objects which further illustrated the narrative stages.

Parkes celebrates that which makes his material of choice so powerful, its richness of grain and markings that would not exist without its own complex organic life cycle.

Visitors to Collect were invited to experience the evolution of thinking in and development of a work of art as a dynamic process. Thus the three core sculptures were snapshots of the same vessel in three stages of the developing concept; representing the birth of an idea and its gestation, the process of reaching maturity and the power of inner metamorphosis to create the seed of new life

Each sculpture is illustrated individually. Please note this group is sold and new work is currently being developed.

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Trained at Cheslea College of Art Joel instigated his career at the pioneering Public Arts Company, Free Form Arts Trust. There he designed sculptures and carried out various public engagement projects. In 2010 he set up his own private studio in Dorset, where the pace of life, the Jurassic geology and magnificent landscapes began to inform his work.

Watching Joel at work it is clear he is at one with his material, neither one dictating the other, rather it is akin to a dance. His movement as he works creates arcs that expose the lifelines of the tree. He doesn’t necessarily set out to create bowls or vessels, instead he likens the process to making music, there is a flow and a form develops out of the wood, with occasional improvisations until the shape simply feels right.

With the shape determined the process moves to polishing, bringing out a more beautiful natural outcome with Joel respecting the areas that may be broken or damaged as the richness that gives the life form of the wood its beauty. It is a psychology of acceptance, highlighted by the introduction of precious metals into the cracks, drawing our attention to the beauty of the mark and creating a combined material language which pours out of the wood.

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