Collin Parson wears two hats in the local art world — three, if you count the fact that he is the son of prominent area sculptor Charles Parson. One is as the director of the visual-art program at the Arvada Center, where he has shown himself to be a gifted curator. The other is as an artist who is a member of the Pirate cooperative and whose work was seen earlier this year in an exhibit at the McNichols Building.
Working with light as his chief medium, Parson is currently the subject of a good-looking solo at Z Art Department with the preposterous title ReWorked: the Collin Parson Experience. The show is something like a brief survey of the work Parson's done over the past few years, with the oldest pieces, such as "Lightscape" (pictured), dating back to 2008, and the newest ones being done only in the past few months.
Parson's work is in the form of lightboxes — that is, boxes that hang on the wall and have internal lighting. The earliest of these are made of wood that's been painted black, with voids routed out that allow the light to come through. In "Square Variations: Figure," from 2010, Parson's minimalist roots and the influence of James Turrell are both obvious, but the final result has a look of its own. At first Parson used fluorescent lights, but as time has gone on, he's switched to LEDs, in some cases changing the old fittings to update the fluorescent ones. The advantage of the LED technology is that the colors can change their shades over the course of time.
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For the newer pieces, Parson has dispensed with painted wood, switching to acrylic panels held in frames. These sheets of acrylic are in a range of colors, and their voids — some in elaborate arrangements of shapes — have been laser-cut according to computer programs that contain Parson's intentions rendered in software, which is then sent as an attachment to a fabricator via e-mail! These more recent works bring in references to another of Parson's mentors, Robert Irwin.
The Parson solo runs through September 15 at Z Art Department, 1136 Speer Boulevard, 303-298-8432, firstname.lastname@example.org.