Olivia Parker

Lost Objects and Ephemera

June 9 - August 26, 2006
By Jim Alinder

Olivia Parker's vision unfolds in microscopic bits of silver chloride that have been transformed into quietly passionate poetry: myth and ritual are as subtly connected as are sex and death. Olivia's active intuition organizes the objects in suggestive ways that go beyond intellectual construction and graphic genius. Her wonderous use of light reveals surfaces and textures with exquisite, finished perfection. The luminous eight by ten inch contact prints, offering warm and cool colors gained through selenium toning, are formally elegant and humanly meaningful.

The portfolio in our hands; time now to enjoy this profound group of ten still lifes: four whelks, a clustered space station adrift, in formation in the galaxy; a pair of feathers, their softness an almost indescribable luxury; a shimmering white bone against an intricate man-made rusted metal surface; three roses, a delicate day after perfection now frail, on the edge; the void of a photograph long absent from the album page, reappearing as a real skull, replacing the mirror with a memory, rows of shell beans, forming their own grids, some beginning to dance; a trio of turnips overwhelming the wonder of 19th century science; the Saturday before the 3 Sunday, today, winter coming on, the flowers have come and gone; the cyclamen root, its structure as intricate and beautiful as that of the plant to grow above; finally, eight dolls signaling their mysteries, delectable icons of an ambitious spirit.

Discarded and forgotten, the objects photographed had become meaningless. Olivia Parker has connected their lives to ours. She has caused their renaissance through her love for them and for us; and artist's gift enduring for all who view these photographs. Olivia has pierced through hidden layers to find an ironic presence, a warm humor, an archaeologist's dream, a fragmentary truth, and imaginary future. We cherish her gift.

September 20, 1980