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Father-son duo share exhibit at Museum Outdoor Arts

Artists interact with each other through their work

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“Art is making something that didn’t exist before,” artist Charles Parson says in a well-made video that plays continuously in the Sound Gallery at the Museum Outdoor Arts’ indoor gallery at Englewood Civic Center. The film’s an informative addition to a large collection of works, “Counterpoints,” by Charles and Collin Parson, father and son, which will run through Dec. 15.

The artists, who both speak through geometric images, respond to each other’s work “in concept and format,” according to the MOA. “Each artist creates objects that remind viewers of the extraordinary possibilities intrinsic in common, often industrial materials, building on the structures of geometric forms underlying our world. An artistic bridge between the two generations, presenting an opportunity to harmonize and at times contrast today’s definitions of artistic expression.”

Both love industrial materials. Charles, who started drawing at age 10, has a vision that is more traditional than that of his son.

Charles speaks on the film of “the pleasure of showing together … the responsiveness to each other’s aesthetic.” Son Colin comments “sculptors need friends …”

In addition to this gallery exhibit, they have eight related monumental sculptures at Westlands Park in Greenwood Village — through Aug. 9, 2018.

Surfaces are mirrored acrylic and steel; polished steel; textured papers with drawings — often variations of a horizon; clear acrylic plastic in varied precise, sometimes textured, geometric forms. Many artworks are enhanced by colored LED lights, steady or pulsing — at times phasing into other colors. Works hang on gallery walls and rest on pedestals through the gallery. Aside from the changing lights, a restrained palette is limited to white, black, grays, blues, mirrored and clear plastics, which are at times etched.

Silence is an element of the exhibit as well — at least when only a few adult visitors are present — although one can imagine excited responses from younger art lovers, who will surely have a positive reaction to this visually stimulating collection — while dancing in front of the mirrors! Imagination takes one to some science-fiction world — far, far away.

Except that Charles Parson’s subtle drawings resemble the mountain ranges we see from any elevated spot near home here. The acrylic covers give them distance.

In the back corner gallery, each artist fills a wall with a single horizontal panel. Charles’ is “Diffused Boundary” mixed media, 2017. A drawing of a distant mountain range is mounted under a large sheet of clear acrylic, secured with metal screws set in black plugs. The creamy paper is deckle-edged, heavy.

Collin’s large piece is named “ECHO, echo” 2017, and is made of mirrored acrylic and RGB LEDS. The pulsing lights shine through rows of graduated openings—in alternating cycles of reds, blues, greens, yellows.

In the White Box Gallery, the visitor finds a few nicely lighted images of large pieces by each artist. Shadows are cast on the carpet, adding visual interest.

“Sculpture is a drawing in space,” Charles Parson remarks in the Sound Gallery video. “I’ve found my process — that’s who I am … Collin and I have daily discussions. We both like graduating shapes …” The film shows both men in their studios. Charles has a big space for working with steel beams and other bulky items, while Collin sketches on his computer, “reaching out to fabricators” to execute his designs, because 20 inches by 30 inches is as large as Collin can create at home.

The film shows him peeling plastic film off a big mirrored piece. “At 10 years old, I fell in love with light,” he said.

If you go

“Counterpoints” shows at Museum Outdoor Arts’ indoor gallery on the second floor of Englewood Civic Center, 1000 Englewood Parkway, through Dec. 15. In addition to this gallery exhibit, there are eight related monumental sculptures at Westlands Park, 5701 S. Quebec St., Greenwood Village — through Aug. 9, 2018 (check about artist-led tours in the spring at the park). Admission is free. The indoor gallery is open Tuesdays through Fridays. Moaonline.org. 303-806-0444.

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