Jane Parshall + Joshua Edward Bennett

October 25 – December 08, 2019
Opening Reception October 25, 7-10 pm

Central Park is pleased to present Sun Shines, paintings by Los Angeles native Jane Parshall and wall-relief sculpture by New Orleans-based artist and sign-maker Joshua Edward Bennett. Sun Shines closes the gallery’s 2019 season.

Jane Parshall’s paintings are containers for mark-making. The marks often seem impulsive. And while they’re made quickly, there can also be generous lapses in time before subsequent marks are made on the same surface. These delays are the result of reflection, impasse, or a refusal to adopt a formula for how to proceed to the next mark. And there are certain preoccupations: flatness versus depth, paintings as stand-ins for windows or walls, marks as marks versus the mark as descriptor, the desire to a color in one painting elsewhere in the room.

Themes have emerged as the artist’s practice has evolved. Two of the paintings on view, Open Window #2 (1A) and 702, contain gestural renderings of a wallpaper pattern Parshall began painting in 2007. While the earlier paintings of this pattern were more literal, those in the exhibition bear little resemblance to the actual wallpaper that decorates her parents’ apartment in New York City. In the style of 18th century French or British decorative arts, the wallpaper depicts a romantic Orientalist scene of a man seated under a canopy of vegetation. It was chosen for the apartment by a friend of the artist's family, interior decorator Justine Cushing, the granddaughter of the painter Howard Gardiner Cushing. The junior Cushing’s decorative style is an extension of her grandfather’s paintings, and recalls the vestiges of the New York class system in Edith Wharton novels or Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan.
She chose chintz matching the wallpaper for the curtains, dust-ruffles, lamp shades, and chairs, and in addition, placed enlarged and framed photographs of her grandfather’s paintings in each room. Interiors, of course, are more than architecture or decor; they are the life lived there. While Cushing extends her Grandfather’s world into three-dimensional space, Parshall reverts the experience of those spaces back into the flatness of painting.

Joshua Edward Bennett designs dimensional wall works that serve as wayfinders for personal introspection. Using brightly-colored and reflective materials in bold, graphic compositions, Bennett’s pieces ask, sometimes shout, for one to stop and acknowledge their surroundings. The artist’s psychedelic signage is not overt in its import, be it a warning, regulatory or guidepost. It’s more important that the sign identifies a space for exchange. How to read it and where it points is open to interpretation. Working serially like Parshall, Benntt’s work on view spans discreet investigations into warning colors pulled from nature, to those with a Day-Glo intensity found more often in science fiction. Both artist’s return to familiar color combinations of yellow and black, red and blue in their approaches to addressing or confounding signification.

Bennett’s pieces for Sun Shines are collected around the form of the conduit, that when activated by the viewer permitting the free flowing of psychic energy imparted onto them. This exchange, visually traveling through the tunnel, is a means for viewers in the space to collectively participate in the experience of their imaginary spatial realm. These channels spill their energy into the faint grey openings in Parshall’s paintings. The light bouncing from their acrylic surfaces is mirrored in the diagonal brushstrokes of Parshall’s Untitled (TBD) and Ear. The exhibition is activated by the sunlight as it carves an arc through the gallery over the course of the day.

Jane Parshall (b. 1983, New York, NY) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Pashall holds a BA from Columbia University (2006) and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (2011). Recent exhibitions include  group shows at Central Park, Los Angeles, CA; Ms. Barbers, Los Angeles, CA; Pøst, Los Angeles, CA and 356 Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA. Pashall recently contributed writing to We Spoke organized by Meital Yaniz at Women’s Center for Creative Work, Los Angeles, CA. We Spoke the book will launch October 27, 2019.

Joshua Edward Bennett (b. 1982, Indianapolis, IN) lives and works in New Orleans, LA. Bennett is a 2006 BFA graduate of University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN, and a 2019 Digital Arts MFA graduate of Tulane University, New Orleans, LA. Benett has had solo exhibitions at Alone Time Gallery and Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA. The artist’s work has been included in  group exhibitions at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; NYC Design Week, New York City, NY; and Deep Space Gallery, Jersey City, NJ. Bennett has been a contributing member of the artist-run space Good Children Gallery in New Orleans since 2015 and produces music under the name Nommo.