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Sculptures of Derek Parker Captivate Peddie

Uma Mani'20, Staff Writer

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Mixed-media installation artist Derek Parker worked in the Mariboe Gallery assembling a suspended sculpture and other interactive exhibits, now on display. Parker’s work revolves around the way people perceive objects in the places that surround us. A lot of his works utilize space in a different way and are made of discarded materials for which he invents alternative realities. Parker has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University Bloomington where he studied sculpture and extended formats. He currently works for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art where he manages a fabrication shop. He also runs a studio in Western Massachusetts where he lives. His works have been shown in various exhibits across the country. The artist has also created outdoor sculptures and other public pieces commissioned by universities and other institutions.

Parker is also working on an ongoing project that explores the variation in the creative process. Rather than choose the materials and space he is working with, he distances himself from any familiarity with the material by having somebody else dictate it for him. For these works he is provided free range to any spare materials in storage but is often restrained by the fact that many of the materials can’t be cut, welded, or changed in any way. This new way of working forces him to step outside his normal expertise and work with the conditions he is given to produce a unique outcome.

Maggie Hart ’17 attended the panel discussion led by Parker and Andrew Harrison, Director of Mariboe Gallery. “I never really thought about how a professional artist is afraid of failure the same way I could be…I know there’s always a possibility that by my final critique I’ll be disappointed that I couldn’t finish. Parker talked about how even if he didn’t finish or make something he liked that it would still be a learning experience, and I found that really eye opening,” she said. The hanging installation in Mariboe Gallery was created entirely from old computer cables and black and blue wire casing. “I liked the [sculpture] with the video camera because of the overturned beetle underneath the lens. It was a small detail that could be easily missed if you weren’t paying attention. I like how it made the piece more interactive, like I was being let in on a secret,” Hart said.

“It is remarkable how our perception of the ground can change dramatically when we see it from the sky,” Parker said about one of his similar pieces. “[The sculpture] reveals a hidden landscape and remind us that wheat we consider ordinary is only a matter of perspective.” The sculpture in Mariboe is truly a work of art so the next time you walk through Swig, stop by and take a look; it will be worth your time.

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The student news site of Peddie School
Sculptures of Derek Parker Captivate Peddie