Carson City, Nevada ”” The Capital City Arts Initiative [CCAI] presents its exhibition, Writing from Mars, by artist Rick Parsons at the CCAI Courthouse Gallery. CCAI will host a reception for the artist on Friday, February 2, 5-7pm. The exhibit will be in the gallery from February 2 ”“ May 23, 2018.
The Courthouse is located at 885 E Musser Street, Carson City. The reception and the exhibition are free and the public is cordially invited. The gallery is open to the public Monday ”“ Friday, 8am ”“ 5pm.
Parsons’ current work has been exploring automatic writing, jazz thinking, and three-dimensional forms while also addressing the environment. He was born and raised along the briny shores of Galveston Bay, Texas, where he found himself nestled between the salt marsh and chemical refineries. Parsons’ older work focused on the effect of environmental pollutants on the body using three materials as metaphor (clay, steel, salt). The concepts still live in the current work but have taken a turn. He has introduced the process of automatic writing to his work to help deconstruct his own thoughts and to break from a formulaic behavior. Automatic writing is the act of sitting and writing from the subconscious with no narrative directing the thought process and is the origin for the show’s title, “Writing from Mars”. For the artist, the practice of automatic writing is a place of reflection.
As another element for the exhibition, Parsons has used an old Physics lab book from 1922 that belonged to his grandmother to build a platform for this exhibition. Two lab tables sit in the center of the gallery with a large drip painting flanking the exterior. Elements of his older metaphors drift in and out of the work. Clay is the body and biology; saltwater heals, preserves and destroys; and steel is the social and spiritual structure that we build our lives around. The clay forms are first soaked in saltwater to absorb the salt as the body absorbs the chemicals in its surroundings. He then places the clay objects on to steel plates where the salt causes the steel to oxidize. Steel is a material that is perceived as having great strength yet can be weaken by a material as simple as salt. The irony of the sculpture is that the same material that is used as the healing agent is also the catalyst for destruction. In the center of the gallery between the two lab tables sits a large Buddha on a dining table. All these elements come together to create space that mimics the mind in a place of lucid contemplation.
Parsons said, “My ultimate goal as an artist and educator is to create art and environments that generates questioning and discovery, for within this framework of learning and expression, a shift in perception can take place, and a new understanding of life can be revealed.”
Parsons has been teaching at Sierra Nevada College for eight years and was named the 2012/2013 Faculty Member of the Year by the SNC student body and was awarded the Nazir and Mary Ansari 2014/2015 Excellence in Teaching Gold Metal Award. He has also served as Sculpture Program Coordinator at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and has taught at both the University of Dallas, and Colorado Mountain College. He was a visiting artist at University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of North Carolina-Asheville, San Jose State University, Colorado College, University of Miami, and Arizona State University. His sculpture has been exhibited throughout the country and was featured in a solo show Santa Clara University. The work was the focus of an article in Sculpture magazine and published in the bookConfrontational Ceramics: The Artist as Social Critic by Judith S. Schwartz and was featured in the documentary film Questions of Art by Zach Jankovic.
Parsons earned his BFA from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1992 and an MFA in Sculptural Ceramics from the University of Dallas in 1996.
Artist and writer Chris Lanier has written the exhibition essay for Writing from Mars. He has a background in both traditional and digital media, and has worked in multimedia performance, digital animation, web production, and comics. Mr. Lanier is also an essayist and critic whose art criticism has appeared in a variety of online and print publications. He is an Associate Professor of Digital Art at Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village, Nevada. Lanier earned his M.F.A. in Studio Art at the University of California, Davis in 2007 and his B.A. in Art and Society at the New College of California, San Francisco in 1994. He lives in Reno with his family.
This exhibition is supported by a Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Capital City Arts Initiative is an artist-centered organization committed to the encouragement and support of artists and the arts and culture of Carson City and the surrounding region. The Initiative is committed to community building for the area’s diverse adult and youth populations through art projects and exhibitions, live events, arts education programs, artist residencies, and online projects.
CCAI is funded in part by the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Nevada Arts Council, City of Carson City, NV Energy Foundation, U.S. Bank Foundation, Nevada Humanities and National Endowment for the Humanities, and John and Grace Nauman Foundation.
For additional information, please visit CCAI’s website at