Sojourner Truth Parsons: “Seven Songs”
at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
by Ariane Fairlie
Sojourner Truth Parsons’ artwork can be described in two words as genuine and immediate. This relates in part to her material practice, and, in part, to the viewer’s experience. Parsons’ works are experiments in paper and related materials, glue, ink, wax and others. She uses different processes of aging and temperature adjustment among other experimentation with her materials to create new texture and form. She does not hide her process from the viewer. Mostly it is there to be observed, and upon closer inspection of the artwork, you notice that a beautiful sunset is made of paper towel, or an abstract pattern is patched together with tape. Her work seems organic and reactive, it is definitely a learning process for the artist. The viewer is allowed to watch her grow as she masters one technique and incorporates a new one from one artwork to the next.
Parsons creates an interweaving narrative that runs through her work, but not in a linear fashion. Characters occur here and there, speaking a great deal to social issues of gender and race. They are dynamic, full of movement, and reminiscent of old cartoon characters. They dance and sway, wriggle and wave, jump and hurl their bodies across the page. Her attitude is comedic and simultaneously heavy. Intense is perhaps not the right word, but honest, certainly. This is where the immediacy occurs. Parsons work is pensive but not overly so. She does not exhaust her subjects. She proposes that her audience examine this or that, as she has in making the work, but the ideas feel new, not tired as art from a social critique standpoint sometimes can. Her work feels fresh and unencumbered, aesthetically and conceptually.
Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects
1082 & 1086 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1H8
and by appointment
by Sojourner Truth Parsons
Image courtesy of Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, Toronto.