The Crimson Line by Trent Parke, until 23 June

Trent Parke, The Crimson Line [series], Untitled #01, 2019 pigment print
108 x 162cm, edition of 8 + 2 AP, unframed, 36.5 x 55cm edition of 4 + 2AP.  Courtesy the artist, Magnum Photos and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

Michael Reid presents a year-round program of contemporary Australian and international art including painting, sculpture, contemporary photography, print and media art, as well as curated exhibitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks and art from the Oceanic region, across both Sydney and Berlin galleries. And like their industry counterparts Michael Reid have continued to bring art to their audiences during the Covid-19 pandemic via an online exhibitions platform, and by appointment.

Located in Surry Hills, Michael Reid is currently showcasing a suite of cinematically styled photo-based works by artist Trent Parke in ‘The Crimson Line’, an exhibition of works which find the extraordinary and the beautiful in what might ordinarily be perceived as a threat to the environment.

Parke was born in Newcastle, his childhood memories relay visions of the city’s industrial landscape, the shipyards, chimneys and the BHP steelworks, where he often went with his mother to pick his father up from work at Tubemakers. The industrialised characteristics of these landscapes have been further impressed upon the artists creative inspiration by the similar surrounds of the Adelaide beachside suburb where he now lives.

At the heart of Parke’s artistic practice though are two major life events, the death of his mother during his young years, and the water births of his sons with his partner and fellow artist Narelle Autio. Parke’s exploration of life and death, light, shadow, space, time and memory continue to unfold in this body of work, inspired by the illuminations and colours of dusk and dawn that have sparked his curiosity for the colour crimson, the deep red pigment known as carmine collected from the female Cochineal scale insect.

The varying shades of red produced by these tiny beetle-like creatures “also seem to feature spectacularly in the colours of creation, as seen in an Eagle Nebula during the birth of a new star and recorded by the Hubble space telescope… one of Parkes favourite photographers. These colours of birth and blood Parke also remembers from the bath water, the umbilical cord and placenta, at the birth of his sons,” the gallery notes.

Trent Parke, The Crimson Line [series], Untitled #02, 2019 pigment print, 108 x 162cm, edition of 8 + 2 AP unframed, 36.5 x 55cm edition of 4 + 2AP unframed. Courtesy the artist, Magnum Photos and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

From one imagination to the next, cloud-like formations rouged in luscious crimson hues of scarlet, magenta and blood orange billow thick plumes of smoke high above industrialised lands while glowing sunsets reaching out across the horizon define the outskirts of these urban landscapes.

Visit the Michael Reid website here to view the online version of ‘The Crimson Line’, or to experience the exhibition in person Michael Reid Sydney is open by appointment only to ensure social distancing regulations are adhered to. Bookings via email [email protected]