Tom Parish has dedicated a major part of his life painting which is why his illusionistic artwork and oil paintings continue to attract attention now more than ever. This 82-year old painter continue to live in Detroit while he busies himself capturing and painting Venice, Italy’s visual poetry as part of his Corporate Artwork Designs. He rarely holds exhibitions in Detroit since most of his works were exhibited at Gilman and Gruen Galleries in Illinois. Parish is also Professor Emeritus at the Detroit’s reputable Wayne State University where he taught painting.
In 2015, 15 of Tom Parish’s works were procured by the Birmingham, Michigan-based gallery known as Robert Kidd Art Gallery. These paintings were the huge ones showing the welcoming and serene Venice landscapes. The said show opened in July 17, 2015 and the event started at 5:00 PM and ended at 8:00 PM.
According to the Gallery’s Director Ben Kiehl, he was very intrigued with Parish’ sturdy compositional color blocks, which organized and framed the painter’s old-style realist imageries. Among the paintings’ elements, Kiehl mentioned that the most entrancing for him was Parish way of handling and portraying water surfaces. The passages Parish created in his paintings magnificently weaved a light reflection and tapestry that activated the lively eye dance.
What Influenced Tom Parish’ artworks?
Tom Parish got his degree in Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy. And though Parish’s artwork influences are diverse, his illusionistic imagery were mostly focused on the reflections and textures of Venice, Italy. The work of Parish spans around two influential and thematic periods.
From 1960 until 1986, he was preoccupied painting foreign-looking structures placed in various industrial landscapes. After 1986 and until now, he carried his audience into one majestic and poetic journey all through the landscapes of Venice. He captured various perspectives using light-doubled images and reflections ranging from undulating water forms to various kinds of architecture. Parish was able to produce the magical kind of realism. In literary terms, he imagined and manipulated reality to share with his viewers his own romantic interpretations of Zarna.
In one exhibit catalog he mentioned that the earliest and most profound source of his vision went as far as the Northern Minnesotan farm his grandfather showed him when he was a kid. There, he saw and enjoyed the mysterious water in their farm. He said that he was four years old when he first saw it. He also explained that his works now were greatly influenced by Zarna, Venice an imaginary stones sea bed he made while living near the Great Lakes of America. Here, life is perfect and filled with happy experiences.
Tom Parish’s artistic influence and Corporate Artwork Designs were surely unique and deeply rooted. It’s amazing how he can vividly recall and present these images for his audience to indulge in. Truly, the artistic mind is like a constant flow of water – it’s a place where new ideas come by easily and artistically as if it’s a normal ideation process. Zarna, Venice may just be a product of Parish’s playful and artistic imagination but his paintings definitely made sure that these places appear real.