The Big Whittle is our second exhibition with Nathaniel Parsons. His work has roots in folk art, narrative painting, wood carving, and a community-building social practice. He is known for drawing heavily from rural Americana, outsider artwork, and naturalist writing. Found and scavenged materials are regularly employed, as the artist favors those that have a well-worn history. Parsons values the embedded history within each element, seeing this choice as a process of building upon history, rather than creating autonomous objects without a past. Previous projects have involved visitors taking walks with the artist while he works or creating public picnic tables that are carved as a community project. Generosity, friendship and shared vision guide his projects and viewers are able to see themselves in the creation of Parsons's distinct works.
"When does a story get to be a tall tale, how is a moral born, and if the artist has a desire to consider all that, when and where does it become relevant?" — Nathaniel Parsons
About the artist: Nathaniel Parsons was raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, among a family of artists. He graduated with a BFA from California College of the Arts (Oakland) in 1993 and with an MFA from the University of Iowa with a concentration in painting, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, and performance. His art practice explores themes of alter egos, visiting parks, shared authorship, and storytelling. As an observational artist, he chooses to work on projects, new, worn and carved from what appears needed to get the job done. Paintings are made on surfaces where some element comes from a found source, stretcher bars, milled wood, cut offs. There is a continual effort to reach Point Sublime. He's sung songs in a band called Little My, playing shows and making souvenirs for the audience. He has shown projects nationally in Memphis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Oakland and Cleveland and internationally in The Republic of Macedonia. He lives and works in Oakland California.