Through this unique process, Parrish creates pieces of art that convey a deep sense of place and his appreciation for the landscapes he’s spent his life in — those of Idaho, where he grew up, and of Montana, his adopted home. He celebrates the expansive prairies. The powerful rivers. The stunning ice fields. But he doesn’t shy away from representing human-driven changes to the land either. Indeed, it’s easy to find the imprint of a childhood spent helping out around his family’s southeast Idaho farm in the parceled plots, fields, and crop irrigation circles that appear in many of his works.
“The act of farming was pretty fascinating to me,” Parrish says. “I remember as a little kid, we flood irrigated the whole farm. The well was on the high end of the farm, and basically we ran the water down ditches and across the fields to irrigate it. And my father actually did this major earthworks project … I remember cutting through the layers of the earth and being fascinated by what was underneath the surface.”
Learn more about Richard Parrish’s work at www.fusiostudio.com.
There’s also a clear environmental undercurrent in Parrish’s work. In Aerial Perspectives, it’s subtle. As Parrish explains, you might need to read about his work, or speak with him, to tease it out. But it’s there all the same in his representation of erosion, in his depiction of “the interruption of the natural — if there is such a thing anymore — landscape with the imposition of the Jeffersonian grid.”
In another series, Tipping Point, Parrish tackles environmental issues more directly, exploring climate change and the idea of “being on the brink or being on the edge of the abyss.” In On the Edge, one of the pieces in this smaller series, a deep blue landscape appears awash in brilliant red and orange flames. In a second, Slide, Parrish uses muted tones to portray the mudslides that often follow wildfires.
Parrish hopes that if people connect with his artwork first, they might then connect with the messages, and inspiration, behind it. The love of place. The beauty of nature. And the power of humans to change, for better or worse, the landscapes all around us.