J S Parker's latest series of paintings continues his long-running abstract series, Plain Song. The series' title is a multifaceted reference to mediaeval music, to the landscape of Parker's Marlborough home, and to the solid blocks of colour which the paintings contain. The paintings' heavily worked surfaces are scored by palette knife strokes. The works contain rhythmic references to land, sea, and sky, and are influenced by sources as widely separated as McCahon, Mondrian, and the austere architectural simplicity of Scandinavian design.
In his latest works, Parker has moved away from the sheer horizontal formality of previous pieces by presenting a series of asymmetrical works, all employing the same basic conceptual design. In each, a single giant square of colour dominates two small rectangular fields which form a semi-occluded horizon, a land partly hidden by the large square's anonymous structure. It is as if we are seeing the distant plains and coast glimpsed between buildings - a tantalising distant prospect seen whilst performing our quotidian duties.
In the series of smaller studies alongside the "full" works in this exhibition, we see something of the artist's processes, both mental and physical, in creating his art. So too, in the partnered works Point and Counterpoint, we see how Parker is constantly thinking and experimenting with his colours, reversing their order to create different melodies and harmonies in his songs.