Michael Parkes’ rare original paintings pair exquisite beauty with technical perfection. The viewer is drawn first to the impossibly pure elegance of Parkes’ paintings and then is transported to a world of repose, magic, myth and dreams. Even the most fantastic angel or beast is endowed with credible anatomy under Parkes’ meticulous brush. The attention to detail in Parkes’ paintings and the tremendous time invested in creating each of these art treasures is rare in a world where so many artists rush to paint a high volume of work to meet commercial demand. Simply put, Parkes will not be rushed. He paints very few paintings each year.
Michael Parkes has a high degree of sensitivity to the special qualities and requirements of each individual medium he uses, whether it be drawing, painting or sculpting. His sculptures are more robust and more substantial than the slender elegance of his drawn and painted women of beauty. The sense that the sculptures created by Michael Parkes actually exist in real life is very strong; you may have never encountered a person or a creature like this, but the evidence of their weight and substance is so convincing that who can doubt they really exist somewhere. For Michael Parkes, his sculptures are intended to be self-sufficient individual works of art. They carry a special weightless quality and character. They are uplifting and seem counter to the very solid medium of bronze. Parkes uses the ancient "Lost Wax" bronze casting method — a medium that has withstood the test of time, visually telling the tale of past cultures, their religions and their social structures. The bronze castings of today are essentially the same method as was used for over 4,000 years. This timeless bronze sculpting technique is somehow reflected in the timelessness of his art.
Michael Parkes’ ability to draw a firm line around his ideas is one of his greatest gifts – and absolutely essential for the demanding discipline of the stone lithography. Parkes began in the early 1980s making hand-pulled original stone lithographs, drawing them in the traditional manner directly onto the stone. He has always been attracted to the immediacy of stone lithography, a process invented by Senefelder in 1798. The medium is very intolerant of mistakes. The artist needs to know exactly what he wants to do and exactly how to do it. Parkes’ stone lithographs can use as many as 14 colors and traditionally that would mean 14 different stones, but over the years Parkes created a technique where he used two or three stones to produce the same results. The image for each new color is drawn on the stone and in doing so, the previous color-image is completely erased and irretrievable. You cannot backtrack for correcting or adding to a previous color already printed. It makes the process much faster but the safety net is gone. To many artists this is terrifying and they refer to it as the suicide run. To Parkes, it is a stimulating challenge that he loves to meet — one of the reasons for his 30 year love affair with stone lithography. Parkes is a rare living master of this art form.
Sketches | Drawings | Studies | Works on Vellum
For years Michael simply sketched on a canvas or board and then created the painting over my sketching. But after doing stone lithography, another element was added to hia work...working on vellum. In the process of stone lithography the design of the litho is first drawn on vellum, a transparent paper. He then can erase, work on both sides, reverse it, and so on. Michael likes the medium so much that today heI uses vellum as a complete art form.
Fine Art Editions
The Aurographics/Giclee Collection brings fine museum quality reproductions of Michael Parkes’ work to a wider audience. This Collection includes mixed media prints, giclée prints, and other reproduction mediums. Michael works directly with the premier atelier in Holland to create high resolution digital images. At times, Michael will personally make changes directly in the digital imagery to make the giclée print unique. Other times, the original is reproduced exactly. Depending on the effect that Michael desires to achieve for the new work, the prints are printed with archival quality inks onto canvas or archival paper. Giclée prints are gaining widespread acceptance and auction value generally, and appear in several prestigious museum collections, including those of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art. The prints in the Swan King International collection represent the highest quality of giclée prints available.