Daily Art Moment: Trude Parkinson

Image description: Emerging Zodiac, 2021, oxidized silver leaf and Renaissance wax on paper, 17 ⅜ x 42 in. Horizontal rectangular composition of 7 abstract human silhouettes in motion rendered in rusty brown, verdigris, purple, yellow against a blank background of 2 brownish patina paper with wrinkles and frayed or burnt edges. From left to right, the figures appear captured in motion, arms or legs outstretched and cloaked in a large garment that at times appears as wings.

Emerging Zodiac is an exceptional example of Parkinson’s work and her dedicated interest in the human body in relation to the greater cosmos. The model of the dancing figure is artist Eiko Otake, a movement-based, interdisciplinary artist who has performed several times @picapdx. Inspired by Otake’s movements, Parkinson has documented these performances. Emerging Zodiac is painted with silver leaf and oxidized over with sulfate. Parkinson then covered the entire piece with Renaissance wax to stop the oxidation process. The movement of the figure is all from one performance by Otake, and the diptych format creates a sense of continuum. In Parkinson’s statement, she connects her interest in the body and the materials she uses in her work: “The human body, with all of its vitality, mutability, and scars, is an accretion of stardust. And it oxidizes. So I make its image by oxidizing sheet silver and silver leaf on silk, recycled kimono fabric, or paper, adding oil paint, graphite, or whatever medium adds an element of surprise.”

Grace Kook-Anderson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art

Trude Parkinson (American, born 1940), Emerging Zodiac, 2021, Oxidized silver leaf, Renaissance wax on paper, Sheet: 17 ⅜ x 42 inches; Frame: 21 x 45 x 1 ½ inches, Gift of Sue Horn-Caskey, Rick Caskey, and Bruce and Jeanette Morrison, 2021.48.1

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