Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison: Acts Without Words November 15 — January 4, 2020

ROBERT & SHANA PARKEHARRISON RETURN TO CATHERINE EDELMAN GALLERY FOR THEIR SIXTH EXHIBITION

Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison return to Catherine Edelman Gallery with new work in Acts Without Words. The exhibition opens November 15 and runs through January 4, 2020. There will be an opening reception with the artists on Friday, November 15, from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Both artists will be in attendance. 

Husband and wife team, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, have been creating photographic tableaus for more than 25 years. Acts Without Words is their sixth exhibition at CEG. In this new series, the artists continue to create photographs that explore human’s relationship to the earth, and the ramifications of our continued disregard for its longevity. These staged photographs, reminiscent of theater or film stills, elicit a silent scream, begging us to listen to nature. It’s these acts, without words, that have inspired this new body of work that invites the viewer to finish the story, allowing various endings to an ongoing narrative. As they stated previously:

“The stage offers endless narrative possibilities and favors contradictions – hope and despair, desire and failure… to explore the fragile human condition, and the overarching shadow of environmental destruction. Perhaps the only true hope for our world and our human spirit rests in our ability to imagine.” 

In The Lesson, 2018, we see a blindfolded man intently listening to birds perched behind him on a fence; in Echo, 2016, we see a man leaning against the base of a tree, his ear pressed to a glass cylinder in an attempt to gain knowledge of the natural world; and in Reparation, 2017, we see a man attempting to repair a tree trunk that has recently been cut down, in an act of acknowledged restitution. By creating environments specifically to photograph, the artists address issues about our responsibility to heal the damage we’ve created, while investigating humankind’s place within its existence. Acts Without Words includes one-of-a-kind pieces, editioned works, large painted canvases and sculptures.

Robert ParkeHarrison received a Guggenheim Fellow in 1999 and Robert and Shana received the Nancy Graves Fellowship in 2007, among many other awards. The Architect's Brother was published in 2000 (Twin Palms Twelve Trees Press), and is now in its eighth edition. Their second book, Counterpoint, was published in 2008 (Twin Palms Publishers). Their works are included in numerous museum collections including Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House (Rochester, NY), and the Nelson-Atkins Museum (Kansas City, MO).

 Digital files of work by ROBERT & SHANA PARKEHARRISON are available upon request

Much has been written about Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, the husband and wife team whose photographic tableaus took the art world by storm more than six years ago. Creating a genre unique within the photo world, the ParkeHarrisons construct fantasies in the guise of environmental performances for their Everyman – a man dressed in a black suit and starched white shirt – who interacts with the earths landscape. Tapping into their surreal imagination, the artists combine elaborate sets (which can take months to construct) and an impeccable sense of wit and irony, to address issues about the earth and mankind's responsibility to heal the damage he has done to its landscape.

Consistently dressed in his trademark outfit, this Everyman is earth's protector, healer and communicator, using low-tech implements as his aid. This everyman then shapes himself as fabricated props for theatrical performances, which are staged to be photographed. Like a production reserved for the cinema, the ParkeHarrison invent their settings, which tend to look more like scenes from "Metropolis" or "Blade Runner" rather than the family photo album.

As Robert ParkeHarrison said in the foreword to his monograph, "I want to make images that have open, narrative qualities, enough to suggest ideas about human limits. I want there to be a combination of the past juxtaposed with the modern. I use nature to symbolize the search, saving a tree, watering the earth. In this fabricated world, strange clouds of smog float by; there are holes in the sky. These mythic images mirror our world, where nature is domesticated, controlled, and destroyed."

In their most well-known works, the artists built oversized objects to perform improbable acts: a huge needle repairs the cracks in the earth's surface ("Mending the Earth"); a gear and propeller flying apparatus carries a man over the land so he can feed it ("The Sower"). In "Reclamation" – one of five new gravures on view – we see the suited man dragging the earth as if it were a blanket, providing a new layer for its continued existence. In "Burn Season," Everyman comes upon a field of flames wearing a suite of water balloons, ready to save it from extinction. In "Rain Dance," we see Everyman multiplied by four, each one carrying a branch, forming a human Stonehenge, empty water jugs on the ground ready to rescue the impending storm. The ParkeHarrisons join a growing number of artists working within and about the land, reminding us, through humor and gesture, what we continue to do to the land and what we need to do to heal it.

The ParkeHarrisons received a Guggenheim Fellow in 1999, an Artist Grant in Photography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2001 and 1996, among other awards. Their monograph, The Architect's Brother, was published by Twin Palms Twelve Trees Press in 2000 with a second edition in 2002. Their works are included in numerous collections including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) and the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.

Acts Without Words images are unique pigment prints on dibond with painting (sizes vary). Pieces range in price from $16,000-$22,000, depending on size and availability.

Falling Awake imagesare available as 22"(short side) and 35" (short side) pigment prints in an edition of 5  and 3, respectively. Pieces range in price from $7500-$13,000, depending on size and availability.

Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces.
Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.

 

Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Act Without Words Fuchsia, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Archive, 2017
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Cadence, 2019
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Canon Dance, 2008
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Ceremony, 2019
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Chasing Birds, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Cloud Gate, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Echo, 2016
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
End Game, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Entr'acte, 2019
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Falling Awake, 2019
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Hegel's Holiday, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Masque, 2019
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Messenger, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Pelican, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Reparation, 2017
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Shoes for Pan, 2008
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Souliers a la Poulaine, 2018

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Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
The Lesson, 2018
Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Wild Rasberries, 2019