Publications and Reviews

From "No matter how clean and quiet" exhibition catalogue

"I went out into the forest early in the morning before dawn, at dusk and late at night during a cold autumn/winter in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. I breathed in the cold air, the space,  early bird sounds and the silence. One time when I stopped and was absorbed in taking a picture, I paused, feeling the silence change around me. The forest seemed to move and I experienced a visceral fear. The eerie light emanating from the nearby nuclear reactor made me feel uneasy. I knew I was unseen and alone but the feelings were unexplainable and real.
Was I experiencing an Arcadian moment? At times capturing the particular time between day and night (the French 'entre chien et loup' which loosely translates to 'between dog and wolf'), these images seek to explore our imagined origins, where the observed scene is dark and difficult to read. Forests and landscapes are submerged into condensed, ambivalent feelings."  Jan Parker

Bibliographical excerpts

"The exhibition "Out on a Limb" features a series of new works that create a kind of conversation, softly spoken but assertively delivered..."

"Parker's work alights upon the surface of things, allowing the rich, strange beauty of her images and objects to suggest the strong currents that heave and flow beneath. Her Slow Vista series of photographs in this exhibition contain ambiguous, semi-abstract fields of colour, ranging from soft pink to deep ruby, wrinkled or flecked with foam or fat. While at first glance the photographs appear to depict patches of skin or slabs of marbled meat, the images are actually of ocean surfaces gushing, spreading and frothing. Parker's camera removes distinguishable horizon lines or significant detail, capturing instead the colour and texture of the water, in configurations that can never be repeated. The tight focus of her prints raises evocative register, playing with perception and expectation, while drawing symbolic parallels between the ocean and the body, an ancient connection that remains forever fruitful."

"Out on a Limb turns the inside out, bringing a depth of perceptual and psychological inquiry to the surface and leaving us with its traces, the skin of things."

From "Out on a Limb" catalogue written by Russell Storer 2006

"Jan Parker's defenceless at the Centre for Contemporary Photography invites various questions of the nature or production of representation. In keeping with Baudelaire's definition of 'modernite'-the modern represented by an attitude to the present, Parker paints the space of Modernity as both transitory and eternal. In using such words as 'modern' and 'modernism' I do not wish to umbrella the poetics of Parker's work; instead it is Parker's usage of representation as a site for ambiguity which questions such neat paradigms."

"defenceless, an exhibition of eight photographic 'paintings' weaves into and against abstract and realist representation. Following on from the work of Gerhard Richter and the photo paintings of Charles Ray, these photographs mounted upon plywood 'stretchers', leave the viewer negotiating between defining the subject matter and the technique...Painting or photograph, realist fragments of humanity or technological abstractions....It is this shifting between definitions, and thus identifying what representative tools of the past should be used to reconfigure the present, which makes Parker's work so mediative. But rather than a prosaic type effect which numbs all lows and highs, Parker's work implicates the inherent violence associated with both identification and modes of representation."

The imagery consists of anthropomorphic forms and formations of balloons in different states. Parker's paintly photographs are of both macro and micro depictions, of both still life and moving shots. The colourings of cream, beige, tan, light-green and grey allow the images to assimilate with the white walls, further implicating the viewer's own presence and in some cases, non-absence. "Representation", as a notion, becomes more about chaos in its seemingly repetitious and differentiating ways."

"Human-like in colours and textures, Parker's use of deflated plastic surfaces ties dialectical points between the eternal and transitory, living and dead. Each image reads like a moment perpetually in translation, suggesting the very nature of desire and its morphing composition...the images leave mnemonic clues to a moment never specifically experienced. An unfamiliar experience in a familiar moment."

From "You two go that way" by Larissa Hjorth in Broadsheet issue 2 1999

"Jan Parker has used a computer to produce her work (Untitled #1), but the sensuous, visceral quality of the photograph returns the technology to the body.... "

"The more deeply we are able to delve into the body at a microscopic level, and the more we are able to mutate and transform it, the more destabilised and fractured our sense of identity becomes."

"While abstract and ethereal, with rich, lustrous colour and texture, Untitled #1 is strongly suggestive of blood and mucous, the central shape reminiscent of a clot or tumour..."

Event no 1, a blood spatter constructed from tiny drops of red glass, suggests a violent act in the production of the mark on the wall, an image familiar to us through horror films...."

"Parker's pieces are quiet and still, with an emphasis on sustained looking. There is a tension between hard and soft, brittle and viscous, with both works, despite their ostensible two-dimensionality, exhibiting a sculptural gravity. Parkers work directly yet elegantly references the interior life. Her examination of the body connects corporeal process with thought and feeling. The senses begin as a physical action, instantly linked by a series of systems and conduits to cognitive response. The tiny pulses and rhythms of the body are deeply individual and personal, and by taking the time to turn inwards, to look at and to feel them, we are perhaps able to recover a stronger sense of self."

Russell Storer Curator of Octopus 2 @ 200 Gertrude Street Gallery, Melbourne 2001

"Viewing these works makes me feel like a microscopic amoeba on acid might, tripping through a silent psychedelic world of beautified diseased tissue. Or is it that I'm an astral traveler gliding around a sublime, watery island. Delicious yet repulsive, calming but disturbing. There is a mystery and intrigue here. This magnified peepshow of veins, blood, bodily fluid and gristle references an unfamiliar universe where cellular politics run rampant, where a power play between chemical toxins and human flesh takes place. While reminding us of our everyday obliviousness to our internal 'happenings' , they also inspire questions of mortality.

From "Luxe, calme et volupte" catalogue written by Louise Paramor 1995

"Veracity fails us again in Jan Parker's combined images of flowers and diseased tissue. At such close-range under veritable microscopic scrutiny, beauty and abjection are finally indistinguishable in these photographs."

From "Rumble" catalogue written by Stuart Koop 1996