John Parot’s exhibition, “Hobbies,” addresses the game of pursuit in gay online dating. In his figurative and abstract works on paper, panel and canvas, Parot makes a sardonic jab at the homogeneity of online dating profiles.
In his collage piece, “Total Eclipse,” Parot combines magazine cutouts in a composition reminiscent of online profiles. Heads float on a flat black background, magazine cutouts allude to common idols and makeshift horoscopes identify a popular cast of gay characters like “the disco dreamer missing brunch” and the “Faux Hawk forever on trend.” Yet his work goes beyond a play on stereotypes. Sculptural work, such as a wooden striped black-and-white paddle, “Haze Him,” pushes the viewer to consider not only the characters associated with online dating but also the possible commodities and behaviors of its players. Parot’s pieces, riddled with allusions to whiskey and nights spent bar hopping, may exclude other possible romantic interactions, taking on the it-is-what-it-is approach to online dating.
Undercut with Parot’s own profile is a more poetic, if not romantic piece, “Self-Portrait, Infrared.” Here, Parot charts minute lists of personal likes on black triangular canvas: “six pack of Diet Coke and a bottle of Jack,” “tacos after midnight,” “late night bike rides.” Although mostly common and unrevealing, the confessions point to a desire for a romantic connection regardless of the flawed medium. (Beatrice Smigasiewicz)
Through June 12 at Western Exhibitions, 119 North Peoria.