April Dawn Parker uses her abstract paintings to explore the complexity of the natural world as it intersects with the manufactured. Taking visual inspiration from such varied sources as cartography, aerial photography, beehives and intracellular forms, each work is an abstracted map that shows a broad view of a scene overlaid with zooms, simultaneously showing multiple levels of magnification.
By juxtaposing aerial, head-on and cellular views in her work, Parker teases out the tension between the conflicting forces of these encapsulated worlds, such as within a city, a bee colony, or within a single organism. Parker also makes the unseen visual: while a traditional map may show land masses, bodies of water and borders, Parker’s paintings also depict invisible infrastructure such as cell phone ranges and underground sewer lines, and even microscopic elements like plasma cells.
Parker's formal technique also embodies this tension of visual mash-ups, where she pairs warm colors with cool, lays in light against dark, pen next to paint and loose strokes next to tight. In her brush work, she contrasts expressive versus tightly controlled strokes, drips and scrapes, pushing her paintings to a point of balanced tension. Her medium can range from oil and collage to gouache and pen.
Parker has lived and worked in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago and New York, and now Mill Valley, CA. She has a BA from Brown University and studied at Yale University School of Art in the MFA Graphic Design program.