Michael Parkes occupies a unique niche in the fine art world.
Highly respected by artists as a fine technician, and well-loved by collectors for his beautifully portrayed imaginative subjects, Parkes is an artist with an impeccable reputation.
To view the work of this acclaimed painter, sculptor and stone lithographer is to enter a meditative state, not of torpor but of heightened appreciation – a state of unmistakable marvel. Although Parkes scenes play out in a fantastic universe where the laws of ordinary space and time are transcended, meticulous care is given to depicting the inhabitants, whether angels, dwarves or heraldic beasts.
Even the monsters are beautiful and have dreams and disappointments of their own.
Michael Parkes was born in Missouri in 1944.
He studied art at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and upon graduation was hired as a lecturer in graphic arts.
His early work was primarily in the Abstract Expressionist style.
Parkes taught for four years at Kent State in Ohio and the University of Florida.
This style has sometimes been characterized as Magic Realism, wherein a sharply etched realism of depiction combines with fantastic, dream-like subject matter. Many of Michael Parkes’ works were created as original stone lithographs, a uniquely appropriate medium to set forth his ephemeral dream worlds.
In this demanding medium, successive layers of the original image are drawn directly on a 100-year-old Bavarian limestone lithography slab, than printed to paper on a vintage 1906 Heidelberg press.
The original is created as the printing process progresses.
Uncontrollable elements, errors and ghosts are constantly arising with their own suggestions of directions the artist has never imagined before but must incorporate.