R. Nelson Parrish


March 2020


March 2021

The space of Wilderness has always played a key research component in my work.  Defined as an uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region, Wilderness is typically an outdoor physical space.  With the trails, beaches, deserts, and most mountains limited or closed due to the pandemic, I turned to a new type of Wilderness – The Pacific Ocean.  I began open water swimming, logging over 100 miles the past year without ever putting on a wetsuit.  Through hours of grabbing water, my hands "see" more than ever before. My relationship to light and color has evolved through observation of rays translated above and below the waterline. Psychologically, I began finding clarity with my internal environment through a heightened realization of what was in and out of individual control.  Fully immersed and using my body as a recording device, I gained more in-depth insights on fluidity, float, glide, and ultimately balance physically and mentally while active in Wilderness space.

COVID-19 pushed me into a new Wilderness.  From that push, the concept of a foil emerged.  A foil is a form found in both man and nature, utilized to navigate unseen forces' turbulence.  Using the same material from work before the pandemic, I re-translate the work into a foil for the viewer to visually and mentally create a calming balance with the surrounding space, in whatever Wilderness they reside.

Specs: 10.5” x 5.75” x 1.5”Color, bio-resin and reclaimed Alaskan Birch
Photo Credits: Jonas Jungblut