' Into the whimsical world of reality '
In this article Kirsty Reid examines the fantastical world of Rosa Park's practice. Encompassing hand-drawn animation and digital drawings, Park's work explores emotional honesty and the notion of comfort through a colourful and vibrant visual language.
It seems relevant to mention the strange reality we find ourselves in now, a year into the pandemic, which feels a bit like a parallel world at times. Perhaps this is why Park’s surreal animations and drawings feel so inviting; when everything else around us seems like it could be turned upside down in the blink of eye, it doesn’t seem so odd to see a swimming figure suddenly turn into a crying fish.
In You will be always with me, we see a melancholic figure walking in the rain. The figure morphs into different animals and objects throughout the film, never staying in one form for more than a few seconds. A bit like how our minds wander, these transitions reflect Park’s exploration of her thoughts about moments in her own life. She explains that she is continually affected by new experiences she encounters in her daily life, but who she is as a person remains constant. This autobiographical element was inspired by the work of Louise Bourgeois, particularly in the ways she translates abstract ideas to visual images.
In some ways Park’s work appears to form a diary, the drawings expressing visual representations of her inner thoughts and feelings as she navigates her daily life. Her childlike style of drawing (a reference to Jean-Michel Basquiat), offers a technique of expressing more instinctual marks, moving away from the overly worked, or habitual. As such, drawing provides Park with an outlet to convey an immediacy and honesty about her emotions. Her drawings also weave in her sense of humour; Am I a dog? is a cheeky quip that brings her personality and a sense of lighthearted fun to the viewer’s attention.
Her most recent research has looked to Alfred Adler’s psychological theory of inferiority, and how this affects human relationships. This theory proposes that we navigate social encounters through our perceived inferiority to others, and some of Park’s digital collages explore these experiences, in short dialogues between two figures. These are not always between two people either, 8500 days depicts a conversation between a person and a small bear. Park muses that these newest works have been therapeutic in working through her own perspectives on human relationships and the ways she embeds these into a visual format.