Vicken Parsons: Breath

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Open: Temporary Closure

43 Pall Mall, St. James's, SW1Y 5JG, London West End, UK
Open: Temporary Closure


Vicken Parsons: Breath


Vicken Parsons: Breath
to Wed 18 Mar 2020
Temporary Closure

Cristea Roberts Gallery presents a new body of paintings and painted objects by Vicken Parsons (b. 1957). Breath, her largest solo exhibition in the UK in over three years, unveils twenty-five new works.

Cristea Roberts Vicken Parsons 1

Cristea Roberts Vicken Parsons 2

Cristea Roberts Vicken Parsons 3

Best-known for her small-scale paintings which evoke architectural spaces Parsons uses thin layers of oil paint on thick plywood panel. The title of the exhibition, Breath, refers to the artist’s use of painting as meditation and as a contemplative counterpoint to global concerns. Paintings are shown alongside new three-dimensional works, which Parsons describes as ‘painted objects’. In the catalogue conversation, artist David Batchelor describes these works; “To some extent they look like extruded paintings, pulled into 3D.” Parsons does not view the three-dimensional works as sculptural in their concerns; they are about painting and colour. Painted steel wire and blocks cast shadows and reflections on to their horizontal base, which is the same plywood she uses for her paintings. In both bodies of work the trace and warmth of the wood is often exposed through the transparency of the paint.

A new group of paintings by Parsons feature prominent yellow elements. Within a careful confusion of yellow planes, lines and marks, the eye of the viewer is engaged in continuous movement between an illusory deep space and the picture plane. Parsons says; “Yellow is also very important to me. The yellow I am using is a lemony-lime colour: it’s a slippery beast and comes out of and goes back into grey. Yellow is usually thought of as a warm colour but this one has a coolness about it.”

Slightly darker, shadowy environments are painted with a palette of subtle greys and several more paintings give eminence to one colour such as a vivid orange, red or blue. Through the careful blending and applying of pigment, one meticulous layer after another, the colours bleed into each other. It is not clear where the source of light is and what is reflection, illusion and reality.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring a conversation between Vicken Parsons and artist David Batchelor. For further information about the catalogue please contact

Courtesy of Cristea Roberts Gallery, London. Photo: Peter White

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