R. Nelson Parrish’s distinctive mixed media art is a visual narrative that explores the emotional journey sparked by a seminal experience in nature. Attracting high profile collectors including Rob Lowe and John Legend, Parrish’s signature totems are imposing and dramatic. The sculptural pieces are handcrafted of wood, fiberglass and layered bio-resin, infused with splashes of vibrant color and racing stripes.
Southern California-based Parrish was inspired by his native Alaska’s totem pole, which is typically a decorative narrative of the legends of a culture told through man’s relationship with the land. Since hunting, fishing, farming and trade traditionally were cornerstones of society, the totem pole united the stories of a community with its environment, through a form that inextricably linked art with nature. Requiring enormous labor, skill and craft, totems traditionally were made of wood, but today are also made of stone, glass and many other unconventional materials.
The narratives depicted in Parrish’s work are conceptual and asethetic tributes to seminal moments of expression or intense feeling, often triggered by nature and sports. Parrish seizes on the essence of the moment, and portrays its emotional story.