Anton Parsons is a New Zealand sculptor who over the past two decades has established a fluid and sustainable practice. Graduating from University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, Christchurch, 1990, Parsons has exhibited in artist run spaces, dealer galleries, curated exhibitions and institutional venues. Parsons’ work is held in numerous public and private collections and he has successfully realised commissions within both the public and private sectors.
Parsons’ practice embraces a broad range of media encompassing industrial materials, alreadymade objects, photography and installation. Concepts are realised with seemingly insignificant ephemera which when redefined, reconstructed and re:presented can often accrue new meaning independent of the artist’s original vision. In essence ‘sculpted’ materials become signifiers or clues to Parsons continually evolving conceptual position.
Exaggeration of scale in the larger installations alludes to the seemingly extra-ordinary of the everyday contrasting the extraordinary in the ‘art world’. Finish and surface sheen are employed like purposefully miscast method actors tattooed with permanent grins to distract from their actual roles. By engaging high intellectual and non intellectual, logical and illogical points of origin, it is as if Parsons’ mission statement is to ‘avoid the middle at all cost’.
For Parsons it is an intangible dimension existing between work and exhibiting space which holds most interest as this is physical space freed up for potential viewers who are implicated in the work and become participants by virtue of having to negotiate around, navigate through or avoid it completely. With site specific work in particular the success of the installation is contingent upon its ability to comprehend and inhabit the given spatial allotment with a presence of silent occupation, transcending often hostile exhibition terrain into what Parsons refers to as ‘dead’ or ‘dumb’ space.
The emptiness at the centre of Parson’s sculptures is comparable to the breaks between tracks of music replayed on audio machinery. While music stimulates people’s ability to pay attention, make decisions and update events in their memories, the brain’s response to music is triggered by the silence between the sounds rather than the sounds themselves. Parson’s practice is like a visual pause for thought, a pause which should not be viewed as a time where nothing happens as it is the pause itself which becomes the event. Ideas of absence or an absence of ideas? Parson’s practice is validation that for there to be nothing there must be something and nothing is infinite.