Miranda Parkes



  • 2006
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • Purchased 2006
  • 1800 x 2200 x 320mm
  • 2006/17

Revelling in a kind of contemporary baroque, Miranda Parkes’ Slumper began as a three by nine metre piece of flat canvas, but – being too large for the studio floor – had to be folded into thirds before being painted and scrunched into this form. Having grappled with the problem of creating more objects in a world already filled with objects, Parkes negotiated a kind of truce with this dilemma, flipping it around and using spectacular excess as a potentially useful ingredient. While retaining an honest, at times iconoclastic stance, she is nevertheless drawn to the sensory aspects of canvas, colour and paint; elaborate costume, circus tents and over-the-top, opulent interiors are occasionally grist to her painter’s mill.

(As Time Unfolds, 5 December 2020 – 7 March 2021)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Miranda Parkes’ Slumper occupies its own unique territory, but might also be seen as the wayward love child of British op artist Bridget Riley and American pop artist Claes Oldenburg, best-known for his giant, painted soft sculptures. Slumper seems ready to enfold the viewer and also perfectly comfortable in its own billowing skin. (Op + Pop, 6 February – 19 June 2016)

  • Brought to light, November 2009- 22 February 2011

    Abstract art is almost a century old but, in the hands of Christchurch painter Miranda Parkes, it’s still capable of youthful and irreverent behaviour. Parkes’s painting here does what parents tell their children not to do: it slumps. If it were stretched flat, the work’s striped surface might suggest order and precision. But its spectacularly rumpled state starts to suggest other things – a lavish garment just vacated by a body, or perhaps an unmade bed. Like her teacher Julia Morison, whose lavish work hangs opposite, Parkes makes paintings that happily flirt with fashion and decoration.

  • Tethered lightly to the gallery walls, this twisting, voluminous canvas behaves more like a sculpture than a painting. What we might expect to be a flat surface erupts and expands, defying the limits of painting’s conventional two dimensions. Slumper is celebratory, exuberant and playful, but like all of Miranda Parkes’s works, also pointedly aware of its relationship to the history of modernist abstraction. By flirting with the decorative, it deliberately echoes and subverts that tradition.

    Parkes received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 2005. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions throughout New Zealand, including ‘Hummer, Crasher, Groover, Slacker’ (2006) and ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me Baby’ (2005) at 64zero3 in Christchurch, and Hullbreach at Enjoy Gallery, Wellington in 2004. Parkes is currently the William Hodges artist in residence at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery in Invercargill. (Contemporary Collections hang, 2007)