Martha Parsey’s alluring figures invite us into their intriguing narratives. Reinforced by the neutral background of the raw canvas from which they emanate, the figures are infused with a strong sculptural quality. Much of the captive qualities in Parsey’s work reside in the delicately coordinated interplay between the figures and their environment. She pushes the potential of the pictorial plain where smears of paint and purposeful lines bisect her forms. Conversely, large parts of the canvas are left un-painted: at once focusing the viewers' gaze and encouraging them to imagine the invisible.
Her recent one off print titled Sirens Sweetly Singing (2015) comes from the Cream track Tales of Brave Ulysses released in 1967. The lyrics give a psychedelic twist beset with hallucinatory imagery to Homer’s epic Greek poem. Parsey interprets narrative in her distinct style where symbols, geometric shapes and patterning coalesce with her painterly touch to create a dynamic space where her figures repose.
In her series If 6 Was 9 (2013) she gradually redefines and withdraws the figure shifting her focus instead to the still lifes featured. Garnering her inspiration from David Hockney’s work from the 1960’s, she creates an alluring series of still lifes exploring the potential of colour, light, reflection and perspective. She utilises objects which allow her to fully explore these artistic devices; like light beaming off a bright collection of pool balls or a flower’s shadow unfurling across a surface. Despite the reduction of the figure Parsey allows her still lifes to be infused with the same qualities she bestows her figures: dynamism, expression and vibrancy.
Her documentary films on Francis Bacon, a collaboration with curator and art critic David Sylvester, have been screened at the ICA, the Hayward Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Haus der Kunst, Munich.
Martha Parsey was born in London in 1973 and lives and works in Cologne. Select exhibitions include Moving Canvas Collection. Art & Couture, Moving Canvas Gallery, Cologne (2014), If 6 Was 9, Eleven, London (2013) and Willow Weep for Me, Eleven, London (2010). Her paintings have been exhibited widely in solo exhibitions in Berlin, Cologne and London as well as the Museum Ludwig, Aachen. Her work is in a number of prestigious collections worldwide including the Ovitz Family Collection and the Zabludowicz Collection.