CINDY PARRA: A WALK IN THE CLOUDS
FEBRUARY 3 – 24, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, February 10th, 3-6PM
Panel Discussion: Saturday, February 23rd, 3-6PM
In “A Walk in the Clouds“, Cindy Parra, known online as @horseandunicorndrawings, presents a collection of drawings and paintings heavily populated by flamboyant Equidae. The line work is scrawly and thin like cursive handwriting. These hair-like strokes trace the delicate equines as they prance through candy-floral dreamscapes of ink and paint. The sprawling drawings are punctuated by moments of acute detail which are almost manic. Horses, unicorns and pegasi reign over their glittery domains without question. Expect them to be as churlish or as frolicsome as they please.
Cindy Parra is an Art Center graduate with a BFA in Fine Art. She has taken her lifelong obsession with horses and unicorns into a rarely imagined and often hyper-sexualized, post-ironic performance art. A sort of Dame Darcy by way of Mickalene Thomas, Cindy’s pubescent render-style is pure, faux naïve profanity dressed-up in princess drag. Her exhibitions use installation and absenteeism to make a statement about privilege, vanity, consumerism, identity, gender bias, the gaze and fetishism. Her fun, fabulous, thought-provoking, and often explicit drawings and paintings are ludicrously inexpensive, which is part of her art activism.
Career opportunities in the visual fine arts get scarcer each year as the number of art school applicants increases and tuitions continue to rise. An ever-expanding pool of art school graduates is forced to vie for only a handful of available jobs. With the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from any of the top art colleges around $182,352, unemployment is a too-common reality–which guarantees a decade or more of debt. Parra believes that by pricing her work so low, she is creating awareness of this institutional hubris, and exhibiting a critique of the diploma-mill mentality that threatens to burst the proverbial Art Bubble.
Part of Parra’s power is that she articulates, herself, what most people are too polite to say out loud. The central tenet to her art practice is one of self-deprecation without coquettish, humble-braggery or false modesty. It’s a sentiment that is equal parts Groucho Marx and Karl Marx: If one of the most prominent Art Schools in America bestowed upon her a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, they must all be a fraud.
The irony, of course, is that such an observation is profound. It reveals a degree of self-awareness that few artists ever achieve, and she rewards her patrons with pricing that is almost absurdly affordable. As a result, her work resides in some very prominent collections–and a cursory list of artists whose work hangs alongside hers would have to include Judy Chicago, Tracey Emin, the Bruce High Quality Foundation, Yoyoi Kusama, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Marc Quinn, and Andy Warhol.
The deeper metaphors, of combatting Princess Syndrome, and of coming to terms with the perceived, adjacent privilege of a white-passing, hispanic upbringing are perfectly masked by her representative unicorns. Her belief is that it’s fine to just enjoy the kitschy splendor of such rudimentary fantasy illustration. Her paintings are frequently accompanied by gifted cupcakes, candy or unusual swag depicting those things–not because the purchase of her art requires additional reward, but to offer an adequate sweetness to distract from her hidden, bitter message.
Contact gallery director Matt Kennedy for info and availability.