PARSONS‘ new shield paintings (2009-10) are part of his panoptic landscape series. He bases them on surveillance technology used by Google Earth that reveals giant new fingerprint shapes on the earth. They are suburban developments centred on a community with the Church, or a Synagogue, Mosque, Hindu Temple or Buddhist Shrine. They are instant designs that go from concept to completion in 3 or 4 years. Freeways provide access to infrastructures such as a Shopping Mall, Cineplex and Golf Course designed by the same architectural firms. The new towns are carved into the land with bulldozers. They occupy waste industrial sites, fertile farmland or high ridges with views of the ravine below. When complete they are enclosed with walls for security purposes, and the streets inside end in quiet looping cul-de-sacs. Entrances have grand gates announcing the exclusive nature of the development, such as Paradise Homes, or Fragrant Hills. The source of his landscapes are inspired by the city of Vaughan, north of Toronto beside Canada’s Wonderland, as seen on Google Earth. Vaughan, according to Jane Jacobs an expert on urbanism, was one of Canada’s fast growing and prosperous communities. He has also followed the city planning of Moshe Safdie who designed “Habitat” for the 1967 Montréal World’s Fair. In 1989 he designed one of Israel’s largest cities Modi’in planned for 250 thousand people; by 2007 it had reached 75 thousand.
In order to create a deep surface, the paintings are built up on spherical bamboo structures, covered by canvas and gesso and embellished by various materials such as beeswax, brass fixtures and gold paint. For PARSONS, the shield-like appearance suggests a promise of security.
BRUCE PARSONS is a painter who was born in Montréal, studied at the Ontario College of Art and is a York University Professor Emeritus. He has exhibited widely in Canada, and his work is included in many public collections. PARSONS continues his work in his Toronto studio. His concerns are for the fate of our environment, the natural kind and the one of human fabrication. His work may be also viewed on the Canadian Art Data Base site and once the exhibition has been installed, at the galleries web-site .
showing or seeing the whole at one view : a panoptic aerial view.
ORIGIN early 19th cent.: from Greek panoptos ‘seen by all,’ from panoptos ‘all-seeing’ + -ic .