Robert Koch Gallery is pleased to present Sirens, its second exhibition of works by David Parker. This new series of photographs of monumental scale is the long-awaited follow-up to The Phenomenal World series and continues Parker’s exploration of metaphysical borders within nature and the individual.
David Parker’s sublime landscapes in The Phenomenal World depicted natural landforms such as rock bridges and arches and examined their symbolic and mythological importance as points of access to other worlds. In Sirens these gateways have expanded to reveal the intangible places beyond. Solitary pinnacles of rock rise above still seas and appear as sentinels at a mysterious borderline. The photographs unveil a delicate balance between earth and void, suggest a deep sense of space, and place the viewer before a world that appears close yet unreachable and infinite.
In the introduction to his upcoming monograph, Sirens, to be published by Steidl for Edition 7L in the fall of 2005, Parker writes “Dreams and the sea are the closest we come to another world, and these solitary rock stacks, or Sirens, as they appear to me, stand as threshold guardians from both worlds. For me the Sirens song is a call to contemplation, not action, and these images chart my own fascinated encounters with an enchanted world of forgotten archetypes.”
Parker’s toned gelatin silver prints draw on the work of 19th century topographic photographers such as Carleton Watkins and Timothy O’Sullivan, featuring rich tonalities, cloudless skies that create negative space, and a similar approach of understated objectivity. But whereas his forebears were limited by technology, Parker exercises expanded control of time and space in his photographs. Using modern non-digital techniques, Parker willfully removes the clouds and omits entire landforms, shaping the images to reflect his vision. As a result, the photographs in Sirens reference the early masters of the medium while offering a more phenomenological response to land and sea.
Trained as both an engineer and a commercial illustrator, David Parker turned to photography in the early 1980s. Since that time his work has been exhibited in the United States and Europe and has been the subject of two monographs, including the award-winning The Phenomenal World (Edition 7L, 2001). Parker currently resides and works in England.