Steven Parrino: link through Noland & Hammons

Vortex 1996

Roll out (2000)

I was interested in Steven Parrino's work as a link between some of my earlier blog postings and the artists mentioned and some of the later artists I was discussing.

Parrino started work at the end of the punk era driven by his described 'destructive interest' in painting which he felt had lost its power. This seemed a natural response to an America drowning in pop culture and the now passé pop art scene. Punk seemed to offer within its nihilistic manifesto a chance to clear ground and start again and Parrino certainly took up that apparent mantle with his smashed, distorted and broken canvases.

By the early 80's he was detaching canvases from their frames and deconstructing the surfaces. It wasn't disconnected anarchic abstraction however as Parrino was referencing earlier artists within his monochrome palettes and the dark brooding sense of foreboding Motherwell had previously brought with them. In Parrino's work however the blackness might as well be spread on the floor or broken into separate parts as sitting on the canvas itself.

I personally found a connection between Noland and Hammons via Parrino and I think that is visually obvious in terms of the images in this post. There of course are political differences between the social aspects of these artists work but there does seem a common feeling in the work in terms of exploring the limitations and boundaries of materials or the expectations of what a canvas might hold.

I explored these areas in my own work as a Foundation student and certainly found what appeared extraordinarily straightforward in terms of the simplistic structures of much of these artists work was in fact actually incredibly difficult to make work visually. I wanted to create a piece that contained the silent simplicity of the artists work I admired and I wanted it to be full of its own identity so that it would exist confidently outside in the real world as a fully capable object. I had feared creating a piece that was full of awkwardness and worried by its own self consciousness. These works were fully grown pieces; adult, precise and confident and it was inspiring to see how artists had achieved this.



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