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© Courtesy of the artist and Western Exhibitions
© Courtesy of the artist and Western Exhibitions

1709 W Chicago Ave.
60622 Chicago
May 7th, 2010 - June 12th, 2010
Opening: May 8th, 2010 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

West Loop/West Town
Tue-Sat 11-6
works, on, paper


Western Exhibitions presents "Hobbies", new works on paper by JOHN PAROT. The show will open with a reception that is free and open to the public on Saturday, May 8, from 5 to 8pm.

In “Hobbies,” Parot continues his poetic investigation into gay urban living, this time training his eye on the attributes with which identities are built and publicly declared in the age of Internet dating and profiles. Under the auspices of Web 2.0, our identities are increasingly constructed through smiling snapshots and lists of preferences and favored activities. Parot humorously sums up this state of affairs with multi-hued pie charts that display likes and dislikes: “hot fudge sundae,” “fireworks,” “tequila please,” “enough with the man-scarves,” “no beige!” Signifiers of personal taste and style abound elsewhere: fragments of album art from presumably favorite records, polaroids of vodka bottles posed on the beach, packs of Parliament cigarettes, and plaid patterns. Handsome male face preside over the disparate imagery like profile pics.

The smiling, disembodied heads, clipped from fashion and porn mags, are embellished with intricate patterns of gouache that carry both tribal and retro-futuristic connotations. They hunt through abstract landscapes painted in a garish palette of hot rod red, screaming pink, electric blue and leathery black. Collaged imagery of raccoons and other nocturnal creatures provide metaphors for the impulsive, debauched, and promiscuous life of a gay man in the big city. As much as Parot is interested in contemporary gay subjectivity, he is also attuned to its atavistic resonances, whether in the animal kingdom or ancient cultures. Some heads glare, sphinx-like, from triangular supports. Like a mummy in a sacred tomb, Parot’s men are surrounded by symbols of status and personal biography. Moreover, the painted patterns that mask the faces are not unlike psychedelic versions of the rags in which a mummy is wrapped. With this reference to Egyptian tomb art, Parot conjures a more reflective tone, taking stock of his desires, adventures and identity.

Visually, Parot utilizes geometry more directly. Many works are situated on triangular panels. In the catalog for the recent "Let There Be Geo" show at A+D Gallery, Parot exclaims, “A triangle is a goddamn sexy shape.” Gradient fills of vibrant colors devour backgrounds, and triangles proliferate within individual compositions. Parot's ornately drawn text endures, illustrating lyrics from songs, poetic phrases and catty diatribes.

This is John Parot's third show at Western Exhibitions, his last in 2007 was named one of the top five shows of the year by New City. His work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Light & Sie and Road Agent in Dallas, Jack Hanley Gallery in San Francisco, Locust Projects in Miami, and Bellwether in Brooklyn. His work has been discussed in the Art:21 blog, The New Yorker, Time Out Chicago, Artnet Magazine, NYFA Quarterly and Art on Paper. Parot is a 2004 recipient of grants from the Illinois Art Council and Artadia. He will be a contestant on "Work of Art" on the cable channel Bravo this summer—the show debuts on June 9. A longtime resident of Chicago, Parot now lives and works in Los Angeles.