Simon Parkin - Beyond Seeing. Paintings inspired by India.

By Adrian Lambert

Effectively conveying something through a creative medium requires more than just talent. And contrary to what some may think, well regarded and collectable artists are some of the hardest working people on the planet. Long hours toiling away in solitary (creative) confinement is the norm for those select few that have the unwavering focus to live life hand in hand with their chosen topic. Simon Parkin is one of those artists.

 

The last few weeks have demanded more than normal as the Glossop artist puts the finishing touches to his "Beyond Seeing" exhibition at Central Gallery in Ashton-under-Lyne. "Beyond Seeing" is an appropriately spectacular visual feast of over 60 paintings and prints depicting the culture and wonder of India, somewhere that Simon has come to know and understand intimately over many years of travelling and exploring.

The paintings quite literally bring pieces of Indian culture into the North of England in the form of pieces of fabric, images of Indian deities and even little pieces of spangley rubbish that aroused Simon's inner magpie. Embedded into the sometimes fluorescent acrylic paints, Simon uses these objets trouvés to inquire as to the meaning of deep seated cultural values such as spirituality and indeed rubbish. He manages all this in respectful and celebratory explosions of emotive strokes and vibrant colours that would surely leave even those that haven't visited the country with feelings of familiarity.

The show runs from 26th September through to the 22nd November. Central Art Gallery is located upstairs within Central Library in the town centre of Ashton-under-Lyne, just outside of Manchester, accessible by car, train, bus or the Metrolink. There are several car parks in Ashton located within a 5 minute walk of the gallery. There are two disabled parking spaces just outside the main entrance of the building.

Friday 26th September until 22nd November.  Opening preview event with Simon is Saturday 27th September, 11am till 1pm. Central Art Gallery, Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. OL6 7SG +44 (0)0161 342 2650
Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10am - 12.30pm, 1pm - 4pm. Thursday: 1pm - 7pm. Saturday:10am - 1pm Closed Sunday and Monday

 

Image by Adrian Lambert

India is a country of extremes which often challenge our emotions, thought processes and reactions. From the Ghats of Varanasi to the Temples of Goa, it can be shocking and upsetting but also beautiful and tranquil. Coupled with the sublime colour that is found in all corners of society, these qualities make for a visually inspiring and compelling country to paint.

Simon hopes through his approach to show us that as with spirituality, painting can be about having faith and trust to look beyond the visible world and to explore and consider the unseen. He has produced art that speaks on many levels and therefore can be engaged in many different ways, but which also demonstrates a depth and balance of understanding of the cultures represented.

Many of the pieces in this exhibition were painted whilst in India where Simon often integrates found objects into the work. Pieces of fabric, pictures of Indian gods and even bits of rubbish are embedded into the paint. This process raises questions about what is real and what is imaginary? What is beauty? Can it be rubbish if amalgamated within a painting? He also encourages us to reflect on spirituality. How do we define spirituality? And can spirituality constitute the process of making art and the art object itself?

Simon has successfully embodied the colour, complexity and culture of India through this engaging and relevant collection of paintings.

The exhibition runs from Friday 26th September until 22nd November. The opening preview event with Simon is Saturday 27th September, 11am till 1pm.

Central Art Gallery, Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. OL6 7SG +44 (0)0161 342 2650 http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/

Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10am - 12.30pm, 1pm - 4pm. Thursday: 1pm - 7pm. Saturday:10am - 1pm Closed Sunday and Monday

Simon Parkin, 43 High Street East, Glossop. Derbyshire. SK13 8PN +44 (0)1457 855936 http://www.simonparkin.co.uk
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