Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison – Environmental Metaphors

Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison collaborate to produce an apocalyptic vision of our future that contains a wake-up call for us all – for our own health, we must tend to the health of our environment.

The primary model, Robert poses as an isolated anonymous everyman struggling to survive a future ecotastrophe, hoping for restoration and redemption through bizarre ritualistic behavior. Not strictly self-portraiture, the self-referential quality of these images invites us to imagine ourselves in similar situations.
Their multi-media approach includes painting, sculpture, and performance art. The final product, sometimes digital, appears to be made with historic photographic processes, making the future look alternately dreamlike and old, which combined with the construction of absurd cobbled-together machines implies a partial loss of technology, adding one more loss to the mix.

Poetically, these images evoke powerful emotional reactions that swing pendulum-like between hope and despair, joy and grief, idealism and nihilism. Rife with ambiguity, contradiction, and paradox, the specific and complete meaning of these images eludes us. Their unfinished quality begs us to continue our inquiries, speculations, and projections about them, as well as to look towards the new works for more clues to help us solve this mystery – or at least deepen it. Perhaps these are the feverish hallucinations of the paranoid or perhaps they are divinely inspired prophecies of our future.

Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison’s evocative imagery suggests to me that we need personal emotional appeals as much as objective factual appeals to produce change. After all, a change of heart always precedes a change of action.

Find out more about my influences here.

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