In Baller, Miranda Parkes continues to extend the field of painting into three dimensions.
There are new scrunched and billowed paintings, featuring gold and copper leaf folded in
perpetuity. Ice princess and feverdreamer are the first substantially gilded paintings that
Parkes has compressed into three dimensions. The very large open relationship (fresh) lights
up the back gallery – a gently heaving mass that balances breath with tumult. It is a work
consummately recycled from a 2015 installation at Tauranga Art Gallery.
There are also two paintings, the title work Baller, and jostler, where Parkes paints directly
onto curiously contoured, commercial pallets mass produced in MDF. We watch the hand of
the artist coming to grips with the industrial geography of an object. It is a testing
relationship. Cavities are explored and embodied, with little paintings and other miniatures
appearing within the larger painterly field. In this way, Miranda’s painting exists both
independently of, but also as part of (or in honour of) its strange support. Sometimes colour
and texture look wholemeal, like the support. More often however, Parkes’ joyful colour
and strength of composition trump the repetition(s) of mass-produced industrial form.
So, visual and sensate experience do triumph here. The sparkling dynamism of a high
summer’s day is captured in the diptych Tōtaranui. It is wonderful that experiential
abstraction can so poetically describe landscape form. And in a rich suite of tabletop
collages, human form is re-arranged with delight and vigour. Exploding the plates from a
book of Modern Painting, these paperworks are surreal and fun and personal – with little
details from the hand of Ollie, Miranda’s daughter. The intimacy of these collages feels very
valuable to this exhibition.