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date: 26 January 2020

Parsons, Jonathanlocked

(b Redhill, Surrey, May 26, 1970).
  • Morgan Falconer

Extract

(b Redhill, Surrey, May 26, 1970).

English conceptual artist. He studied at Goldsmiths’ College in London (1989–92) and quickly established himself in the mid-1990s with a highly formalist conceptual art concerned with issues relating to sign systems, copies, perception and representation. Diptych (1995; see 1996 exh. cat.), one of his earliest pieces, renders the symbols of two road signs on separate small cushions. Carcass (dissected map in acrylic case, 2×1.1×0.4 m, 1995; London, Saatchi Gal.) is a map of England, Wales and Scotland, turned upside down and suspended in a clear box, from which everything has been painstakingly cut out apart from major motorways and arterial roads. Such works typify one thread of investigation within his practice, which concerns our ability to recognize common symbols even when they are altered. He explored this further in a series of pieces with national flags, such as Commune (1998; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 34), which consists of 31 flags whose individual markings remain conventional, but whose colours are all a uniform dark red. Parsons also explored issues surrounding mark-making and abstraction: these came together with his interest in sign systems in the painting ...

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