Erik Parker’s Psychedelic Headcases


A visionary painter inspired by underground comics, graffiti, hip-hop, noise music, and conspiracy theories, as well as the art of Picasso, Bacon, and Basquiat, Erik Parker makes portraits of fantastical characters that are frightening in physical appearance and visually compelling in color and form. His current show at Faurschou in Copenhagen focuses completely on heads, which exquisitely exploit both psychological and psychedelic realms.

Building on a bold, hallucinogenic body of figurative works, which were exhibited in his past two solo outings at Honor Fraser Gallery in LA and Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, Parker continues his nuts-and-bolts, bare-boned structure of skinless figures, floating in fractured color wheels and abstract space, in his second one-person show at Faurschou CPH.

Free Your Mind is a mixture of cartoon forms, which resemble body organs, machine parts, and distorted toys, melded together to construct a freaky being in a black void. Ace pulls a melancholic creature, which is under the control of a mechanical master, from a map-like environment made up of interlocking color forms. Meanwhile, Shape Shift, a diptych of two monstrous figures that mirror one another, uses floral forms and water-pipe parts to assemble a seductive beast ready to devour its prey.

Biomorphic and surreal, Parker’s canvases both enchant and repulse. They mix chaos and order, while reflecting the deep inner thoughts of an artist who never really stops thinking — especially not while painting.

Erik Parker: Adapt is on view at Faurschou CPH through April 10.

View a gallery of Erik Parker’s work now »