Words By Galena Mosovich
Artist Kenton Parker didn’t know the word “selfie” would become Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year when he was prepping for Art Basel at Milk Studios in Los Angeles.
Parker’s solo exhibition Contender opens to the public Monday, Dec. 2 with an impeccably-timed collection of self-portraiture and exploration in the form of photography, sculpture, painting and installation.
Make no mistake; Parker isn’t a self-important social media junkie scrambling for attention. After all, he was chosen by the discerning eyes of Primary Projects, one of Miami’s most cutting-edge incubators for contemporary art, to headline the first exhibition at the new 5,000-square-foot gallery in downtown Miami.
Contender is curated by Cristina Gonzalez, BooksIIII “Books” Bischof and Typoe. In 2007, they put Wynwood’s street art scene on the map with the Primary Flight wall. Let there be no doubt that they have plenty of fine art cred, too.
The inaugural exhibit at their space is a provocative review of raw emotion and the human condition in what Parker refers to as a “safe space” he produced with the Miami-based team.
“It’s about life as well as death and happiness, misery, melancholy, beauty and the issues that being your own worst enemy can create,” Parker says.
With the help of acclaimed LA-based photographer Patrick Hoelck, Parker captures the madness that makes up his personalities (plural) with scenes of fighting, purging, nudity, apathy, along with other universal plots like love.
For a more interactive experience, there’s a reflective flower boutique dubbed “Always Sorry.” The lavish site-specific installation allows the viewer to engage with the artist through a “poetic, intimate, living object.”
Ultimately, Parker wants the viewer to walk away with a… Let’s just say, extremely aroused — mentally and physically.