McBride Contemporain is proud to announce Niso, Bea Parsons’ second solo exhibition at the gallery. Niso means two in nehiyawewin (Cree), and so in the most immediate sense refers to her second one-person show at the gallery – but the word and accompanying concepts and train of thought expand out from that initial reference to a world of meaning, that these new works engage with and profoundly explore.
Dualistic notions, doubling and doubleness, and divided things – selves, spaces, narratives, histories – are at the centre of Parsons’ concerns in this group of monotype prints. Another significant and crucial new concern in her work is motherhood, which encompasses the relationship between the generations – Parsons having herself recently become a mother. Her new artworks reflect that massive shift in her personal life in direct terms and subtly inflect every aspect of the strange and lovely narratives she fashions. Her quivering touches create wavelengths of space, and her painterly delineations and mark-making continue to illuminate new corners of her dreamlike cosmos. Pictorially speaking, the artist’s signature use of black and white is in clear evidence, highly contrasted and suggestive of an otherworldly realm in its atmospheric and ghostly tonal range. These images speak in several voices and on many subjects. Parsons has once again created a window into a surprising and original world of imaginative power and delightful possibilities.
Bea Parsons is a printmaker, drawer, and painter, originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, now living and working in Montreal. She holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal and an MFA from Columbia University in New York City. She is a full-time professor of Painting and Drawing at Concordia. Her practice has primarily focused on black and white monoprints and, most recently, coloured pencil drawings on archival paper. Her haunting and seductive world is filled with characters, landscapes, and symbols culled from a wide variety of sources, from the personal, to the esoteric, to the art historical. A highly recognizable and intimate style of graphic and abstracted motifs congregates in these compositions, creating a pleasurable and emotionally charged pictorial atmosphere. She has recently had solo exhibitions at Franz Kaka in Toronto and Tappeto Volante in New York City. Her works have been acquired by the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Musée de Joliette, Hydro-Québec, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and Equitable Bank. The artist’s work will also be included in a group exhibition that will open the new Critical Distance space in Toronto in April 2022.