Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Curators IV: Holly Parker

[A longer version of the profile that ran in the Gazette on March 18]

At the Business of Art Center, Holly Parker is the familiar face among the region’s new curators.

The Colorado native was gallery director for the Smokebrush Foundation — where she managed the construction of the Uncle Wilber fountain in Acacia Park — before leaving in 2004 to get her master of fine arts degree.

That experience was mind-opening for Parker.

“It was interesting being with students who went directly from undergraduate to graduate school,” she said. “It helped me realize the value of my previous experiences.”

Living in Italy also gave her a new appreciation for life in a comparatively young city.

“It’s very hard for contemporary artists in Rome,” she said. “All the money goes into preservation.”

Because the Business of Art Center is a major studio space and production facility, Parker’s artistic mission is more local than the other curators'.

“The Business of Art Center has a mission to serve the community,” she said. “Part of that is bringing in exhibitions that educate the community in various ways. Diversity is really important.”

Gallery offerings range from the current “Wunderkind” exhibit, providing a showcase to the region’s best high school artists, to upcoming exhibits by the center’s resident studio artists and an exhibit of contemporary friendship books by Tom Leech, a long-time local artist and master of paper marbling who left to run the press at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Parker remains a dedicated artist. Her current series is called “Active Ingredients,” in which Parker creates art made from used motor oil and earth. Themes include weapons of mass destruction and nuclear power.

For Parker, the latter — with its potential for enormous good and enormous evil — exemplifies the quandary of modern life.

“I’m really interested in technology,” she said. “It’s created many of our problems, but it also may save us.”

Parker is hopeful about the region’s arts scene.

“The art community has ebbed and flowed over the years,” she said. “Right now there’s a lot of new energy.


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