R. Nelson Parish at the Kimball Art Center

Reviewed by Becky

by Josh Rosenthal

It’s what you see when you’re flying down the mountain but gravity generally moves you too quickly to enjoy it.  R. Nelson Parrish slows it down for you.  He freezes the frame of motion and tells the story of a speed-induced moment in three dimensions like you’ve never seen and many of these works are on display at Park City’s Kimball Art Center.

The juxtaposition is really quite fascinating.  Imagine a moment of speed (not the movie), a split-second where all of the objects go from clear and understandable to a blurry mess.  You can’t focus on anything but color.  In fact, color is all you see.  No shapes.  Perhaps lines but largely it’s a blur of color and potentially a little vertigo.   That moment occurs in a split second, right?  Now think about Parrish spending hours upon hours in a studio in Santa Barbara thinking about that split second and telling a story of that split second in the form of a very time consuming artistic medium.  That is Color/Fast, his 100+ piece exhibit at the Kimball.

R. Nelson Parrish

We sat with Parrish and talked about art, food, nutrition, creativity, student loans, his home state of Alaska, the obscene amount of time it takes to drive through Texas, Santa Barbara and weight loss.  If there was a tangent to be found, be assured we found it.

Leading up to this show, Alaskan-born Parrish claims he took off 20 hours.

Let me give you some context.  From January 2012 – May 2012 he took off 20 hours.  That includes Easter, that includes surfing, that includes napping.  Twenty hours.  He said that he loved every minute of preparing for this show and often got lost in his art along the way.  Twenty hours of down time tells the story of Parrish’s love for art, commitment to art and the greatness of Color/Fast.

As he sat and told us this, his (ultra) supportive girlfriend, Valeska, smiled and bragged about him.  She said that she made him breakfast, brought him lunch and found other ways to spend time with him which mostly involved food.  It’s not a crazy stretch for her to do that.  She’s a private chef who believes in all the same things we believe in around here – locally sourced ingredients, healthy alternatives, better flavor.  Parrish lost about 20 pounds since meeting her and her healthy food and his art are better for it.

Parrish loves the narrative behind these works.  Sure, maybe he knows the real story – the photographer, skier, adventurist involved – but he even more enjoys that each one warrants an explanation of it’s color and “racing stripes.”  I don’t think you can passively look at one of his pieces.  Though beautiful enough to simply stare at it, you must engage with the piece for the full experience.  Get up close to it.  Touch it.  Use your imagination to explain the color and lines.  Parrish’s twenty hours of vacation begs you to engage and imagine the full story.

Who are some Parrish’s collectors and clients?  John Legend, Rob Lowe, Andrew Firestone, Texas Tech University, and many, many more.  You should become one of them.  Seriously.

Make some time to go up Parley’s Canyon and see Parrish’s exhibit.  You’ll be glad you did.  Make a date out of it.  Nelson and Valeska’s favorite burger comes from High West.  She claims to know the secret of High West’s burger, but she wouldn’t tell.  Go have that burger, a shot of Rye and cross the street to the Kimball exhibit.

Color/Fast by R. Nelson Parrish
Kimball Art Center
June 2 – July 29

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