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Review: John Parot/Western Exhibitions

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Clustered collections of geometric, neon paintings hang as relics of John Parot’s fascination with psychedelia and ancient Egyptian tomb art in his third solo show at Western Exhibitions. Large-scale, almost sculptural abstractions on thick tar paper feature fractal-like patterning, appearing to self-replicate endlessly, and disappearing into themselves. Floating male heads wear the same fractal patterning on their faces. They smile at us with lips clipped from fashion and porn magazines. The face is further disembodied in “You Are A Mirage,” which is a giant pair of stylized eyes, the whites made hot pink, either stoned or seeing the world through rose-hued vision.

Although Parot works in the queer art idiom, this work does not scream identity politics. Instead, it seduces us with bright colors and perplexing optical illusions as a way to bring viewers into Parot’s world of visual pleasure. What’s sexier than a neon enamel pentagram on asphalt felt?

The title of the show, “Excavation,” implies a search, with the art presented as the treasures of a discovery. Like the ancient Egyptian art that it references, the function or meaning of Parot’s works is sometimes cryptic, but the relics are as alluring as any sarcophagus. “Excavation” is a more minimal presentation of Parot’s art than previous shows. That’s because it is a fully evolved and fleshed-out meditation on a couple of slick themes. This is a bold collection of ambitious work by an accomplished artist who is hitting his stride. (Kelly Reaves)

Through June 30 at Western Exhibitions, 119 North Peoria

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