Saturday 16 February 2013
Ria Parfitt artwork
One of the many things I love about my favourite venue, Gloucester's Guildhall Arts Centre, is the fact that there is always something new going on, whether it's a band playing, a movie showing, art classes, dance classes, or an exhibition of amazing artwork... like this selection from Ria Parfitt's recent show, "Cherry Red Hearts"...
After coming out of the Film Focus Group meeting last week I stood talking with a group of friends in the art gallery... but got distracted by the artwork. Sorry guys. The beautiful collage of cats' eyes above ( "Feline Frenzy") first caught my attention and then I found myself captivated by the rest of the exhibition...
Ria has a very distinctive and personal take on surrealism and her sometimes scary, sometimes humorous images remind me variously of Dali or Munch or even old school SF illustrator Virgil Finlay.
Accompanying the artwork were Ria's poems and small autobiographical pieces which spoke frankly and eloquently about her struggles with depression and feelings of not fitting in, with many instances of questioning what is "normal" life? The answer, of course, is that "normality" is different for everyone and we all have to find our own definition of the word. The next couple of paintings, "Head Full Of Horrors" and "The Abnormal", tackle these issues with startling directness.
But there's also a lighter, sunnier side to Ria's work, like in "The Ego Has Landed" below. She spotted this colourful character out roller-skating and had to paint him in all his peacock-like confidence.
While the painting below is, I believe, one she did while still a student and showing huge potential.
I was so impressed by this exhibition that I took Sarah to see it too, and she was equally moved by Ria's haunting, strangely beautiful vision. Below is the talented lady herself. You can check out her work on her Facebook page here ( you'll probably need a F/Book account to log in ) - I think you'll be glad you did.