© Erik Parra

« Back to Winners

Erik Parra

San Francisco, California

Artist Statement

I make paintings and drawings that are often exhibited as part of larger, immersive, site-specific installations. My work draws on tropes of the horrific, midcentury aesthetics & politics to ask questions about the origins of current sociopolitical narratives in the vernacular of pictorial construction. Often, I work in small series of original compositions that conflate my personal history and knowledge with mid-century historical narratives in order to view important social concerns through the lens of history. This serves as an entryway into a process of constructing images that draw on our conceptions of space and the stories we tell ourselves in order to navigate the environments we build.

Currently manifest as fabricated interiors that play host to a range of potential conversations related to aesthetics, politics and history. Central to my work is an examination of postwar historical narratives, such as white flight and the American space program and their challenging effects on contemporary society. Both darkness and lightness are employed to present not only familiar looking interior spaces but also for their expressive narrative effect. Objects within each painted interior are chosen for the potential of their symbolic form to be both simultaneously loaded and banal. This duality then resonates with similar formal choices within the work and drives the potential to open new space to create productive dialogue to the attendant issues. I am interested in drawing on our collective cultural memory as informed by the histories of painting, film, aggressive underground music and radical politics in order to paint a critical, collective self-portrait at a very critical time.

Artist Biography

Erik Richard Parra was born and raised in the border metroplex of El Paso, TX-Juárez, MX. He received a Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree in painting from The University of Texas at Austin and completed a Masters of Fine Art while on fellowship at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Currently based in San Francisco, California Erik has exhibited internationally in alternative spaces, commercial galleries and museums in Berlin, Brazil, Los Angeles, London and New York. In the Bay Area Erik’s work has been exhibited at Blankspace Gallery, Johansson Projects, The Headlands Center for the Arts, Root Division, Southern Exposure, Kala Art Institute, the Berkeley Art Center and most recently at Eleanor Harwood Gallery. Erik’s work has been included in publications including New American Paintings, the SF Bay Gaurdian and the LA Times. Additionally, Erik teaches art and has lectured at universities, given artist talks, garnered residencies and awards. Most recently he was awarded an inaugural Liquitex Research Residency.



© Erik Parra

Stay Connected

Follow Us on Instagram