Some People Add Some Subtract
June 03 - July 05, 2008
Anton Parsons is primarily a sculptor of line not mass. By this I mean that his forms are linear, sometimes even curvilinear - that they gracefully punctuate space, more than they describe what is solid, consciously weighty or volumetric. In other words, they dance or are lightly poised, more than they speak to the huge or the massive.
Take the title work of this exhibition for instance. Some People Add, Some Subtract is a simple rectilinear stick, a form 2400 x 75 x 75mm that leans gently against the wall. It feels sleek and lithe. Everything is precision and edge. And the rhythm of the vinyl-cut number sequences (on each face of its box-profile) is sprung with just the sort of compressed intensity needed to keep the eye roving. Crisp are these numbers, white against a juicy red. As pattern, they are part of a rich painterly skin to which Parsons also has recourse in the works Construction, Innocence and All The Time.
Myopia (red) and Myopia (black) are different. Their skeletons are rectilinear, but springing from their lacquered white bones are lathed sprigs of pvc. They push both horizontally and vertically. Infact, they look as though they might grow right through the frames and out the other side. Visually, they lend the work not just movement, but real colour and texture. They seem to bounce to the offbeat. In Myopia (red) they are almost musical in cadence. And they also support the work just out from, or off the wall, allowing it room to breathe and to cast lively shadow. If you imagined too, each cell of three sprigs as buds of braille, the works in the Myopia series spell out different impairments of sight - problems of vision perhaps befitting a sculptor with a long-standing feel for braille.
These works are horizontal or landscape in format, and are made to be read along each frame - the same frame that offers a sense of containment about which an almost boundless movement takes place. Contrast this with the quiet assertion of the vertical, in the work Every Single Thing. Here, less is more. This strange looking instrument of calibration has a sense of rotation or the centripetal about it. Brushed stainless steel is sylvan alongside pvc red, as a strange intimacy is extruded from something industrial. This is an intelligent and unexpected combination of material and effect - a marriage of industry and elegance that makes Parsons' sculpture very approachable.
For Parsons this notion of access is always interesting. He tantalizes us with codes of communication - letters, numbers and braille are all over his sculpture. He goads us into reading these outlines in space, literally however to no avail. What is revealed instead, are the formal qualities of his sculpture: poise, movement, and colour confined within a graceful sense of structure. His is a joyful punctuation of space, a practice now eighteen years in the making.