Robert ParkeHarrison is an outstanding photographer, who creates disturbing images from photographs using sculpture, painting and aspects of theater to produce a surreal image. He appears in every photograph, acting as explorer, victim and conjurer performing actions that evoke a sense of ritual and metaphor, and frequently leave the viewer dazzled.His is a magical world, lightning strikes, huge flowers explode and clouds and dark holes spin across the horizon. This is a mystical world that recalls to me the world of the major arcana of the Tarot. The figure vacillates between Mage, Fool and Hierophant. Who is the Architect, I wonder. Is his brother an assistant or an opponent? Many of the images are ambivalent, touching on both darkness and light, making a clear decision impossible. The figure seems melancholy, engaged in strange almost hopeless acts. But he persists, carrying on a quest intended to heal or repair a desolate world.Despite a great difference in subject matter, these images remind me a great deal of Joel Peter Witkin, who is another Twin Palms photographer. Witkin's images also evoke a sense of myth and legend and have many readings. Both photographers manipulate their images extensively (with their wives as co-conspirators as well). And both have wonderful imaginations that seem to flourish against the somewhat humdrum backdrop of today's world. A slipcased, signed edition exists, but is becoming quite rare. This edition and the trade edition are beautifully produced by Twin Palms, who manage to capture the real spirit of this work. By all means buy the "The Architect's Brother" if you are interested in non-traditional photography. You won't be disappointed.
THE ARCHITECT'S BROTHER is one of the most beautiful monographs of photography to be released in years. These 'constructions' created by the husband/wife team under the name of Robert ParkeHarrison meld painting, sculpture, stage props, photo-manipulation, collages of natural debris, and megatons of inspired genius to create staged photomontages that are at times amusing, melancholic, wistful, and spiritualy uplifting. Speaking to the earth through a huge megaphone made of bark, anchoring clouds, flying suspended by lassoed birds - let your imagination take you there. The quality of the book is up to the luxurious standard of format of Twin Palms Press. There is an added three brief pages of comment in the form a quotaton by W.S. Merwin entitled 'Unchopping a Tree' which is what this entire collection is about - man's attempt to mimic nature....and the sweet sadness of the knowledge that he can't.
Buy this book for your local library. Parke Harrison, a husband and wife team create spellbinding photographs that take days to prepare. Inspired by an individual spiritual drive the photographs depict characters portrayed by Robert that interact with the earth, usually through some fantastic contraption like a cloud machine.The effect is other worldly and haunting. The effects created photographically are enhanced by handpainting over the photos. Originally working with beeswax and pigments, travelling and the wear induced led to exploration of acrylic mediums. This is a dream for mixed media minded people.
I first saw Parke-Harrison's work at an art museum maybe five or more years ago and have been looking for a copy of this book ever since. His images are both sparse and imaginative, poignant and darkly beautiful. There is something borderline unfathomable about he and his wife's art. It asks you to stretch your perspective, to question the depth of simplicity, to elongate an idea of reality, all while forcing you to contemplate the metaphor of the image itself. It is fantasy and commentary, the (in my opinion) very best two things a piece of art can be. Parke-Harrison does in visual what I most crave in literature, he skews the "real" just enough to build something new upon a discussion of what already is. The book itself is a fabulous reflection of the art. The photos are reproduced beautifully, the binding is simple and clean, and the book includes a great many more pieces than were present at the exhibition where I first saw his work. All in all, I am exstatic that I was finally able to track down this volume.
The Architect's Brother is a beautiful compilation of photographic art by photographer Robert ParkeHarrison. The photographs are splendidly composed and executed and each is a work of art capable of evoking responses of awe, wonder, joy and sadness. The book itself is well composed: the paper and pictures are very high quality and the book is well bound and cloth covered.