Kenton Parker's "Contender" at Primary Projects Through January 24

Don't tell Kenton Parker that love means never having to say you're sorry. On the contrary. For the 45-year-old West Coast artist, apologies, when sincere, are the weft and weave of romantic purity. In fact, he's built a glass greenhouse filled with orchids, tulips, roses, and plenty of spiny succulents as an offering to all the women he's loved and hurt before. Always Sorry, the lush installation that masquerades as a functioning flower boutique, is part of his provocative solo that exposes his vulnerable side and acts as an exercise in purging his amorous demons, he says. "I have this ability to piss off someone and say I'm sorry in the same long, run-on sentence," the green-thumbed, wiry dynamo explains. "I'm going to fill my hothouse with some neon signage too. When people enter the gallery, all their senses will be brought into play." Parker's show, "Contender," transports viewers on a poetic journey of the peaks and valleys of human complexity. On view are works — ranging from sculpture, painting, and installation to photography — that are self-referential and marked by raw emotion. In a series of large-format photos reminiscent of Greek classical sculptures, the artist conveys multiple aspects of his high-spirited personality, unveiling an illuminating narrative of the existential condition. The shots were lensed by Patrick Hoelck, a long-time friend and photographer, who captured Parker's intense one-day performance at the Milk Studios in Los Angeles, where the artist wove the compelling story at the root of his exhibit.


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