international painting annual 6 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Erik Parra
San Francisco, California

detail image


My paintings draw upon tropes of the horrific, midcentry aesthetics & politics to ask questions about the origins of certain, current sociopolitical narratives in the vernacular of pictorial construction. I make original compositions that conflate my personal history and knowledge with mid-century historical narratives in order to view important, current social concerns through the lens of history. This serves as an entryway into a process of constructing images that draw on our conceptions of space and the stories we tell ourselves in order to navigate the environments we build.

Often the interior plays host to a range of potential conversations related to aesthetics, politics and history. Central to my painting practice is an examination of postwar historical narratives; such as white flight and the American space program and their challenging effects on contemporary society. Both darkness and lightness are employed to present not only familiar looking interior spaces but also for their expressive narrative effect. Objects within each painted interior are chosen for the potential of their symbolic form to be both simultaneuosly loaded and banal. This duality, then resonates with similar formal choices within the work and drives the potential to open new space to create productive dialogue to the attendant issues. I am interested in drawing on our collective cultural memory as informed by the histories of painting, film, aggressive underground music and radical politics in order to paint a critical, collective self-portrait at a very critical time.





born: 1975, El Paso, Texas



University of Texas at Austin, BFA, 1999
University of Wisconsin Madison, MFA, 2004


selected awards/honors

Creative Capital Professional Development Program, Nominated by Southern Exposure 2010.
Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison 2001.


selected publications

New American Paintings, Issue #115, December 2014 -January 2015
Muzzle, Literary and Art Magazine, Best of issue. August 2011
MomentaArt Catalogue, MomentaArt Brooklyn, NY 2004/2005


selected solo or two-person exhibits

Each Devil His Own, Transmission Gallery, Oakland, CA. 2015/2016
Capturing the Void, Nisus Gallery, Portland OR. 2013
This: A Contemporary Situation, Sheppard Contemporary Museum U of Nevada Reno, NV. 2013
Between Currencies- Johansson Projects, Oakland, CA. 2009



selected group shows

Botanica: All Things Plant Life, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA. 2015
Make Space, Berkley Art Center, Berkley, CA. 2014
Ransom, Brooklyn Wayfarers, Brooklyn, NY. 2013
Inaugural Flat File Exhibition- Golden Parachutes, Golden Parachutes, Berlin, DE. 2010



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