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The maze as a metaphor

Local printmaker Ryan Parker lifts labyrinths from everything from video games to horror movies.

Anyone who has squandered countless hours (or days) at a time blasting away at gunmen and aliens in first-person shooter games like "Doom" or "Duke Nukem" knows how easy it is to get lost in their endlessly branching mazes. Local artist Ryan Parker wandered those passageways in his youth and has recently been revisiting them in his printmaking work.

Parker builds mazes, some of them invented, others taken directly from video games or other sources, in a 3D modeling program, then wanders through taking virtual snapshots, after which he renders as etchings. "I like referencing these '80s and '90s games with this antique printed quality," Parker says. "It's a blurring of time periods."

He discovered traditional printmaking while a student at Tyler School of Art, which brought him to Philly from his native Florida.

His latest series further leaps between eras, combining multiple perspectives taken from several windows on his desktop into a single image. The pieces create imaginary spaces inspired by the 18th-century printmaker Piranesi's "Prisons" series.

Space 1026's exhibition of some of Parker's most recent work, "Finder," features pieces based on the hedge maze from Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining."

As he explains, "I identify with the character Jack's struggle with writing his novel. I use the maze as a metaphor for the creative struggle; I think making art is always full of challenges, a lot of turns and dead ends. It's something that's never solvable."

‘Finder’: New Work by Ryan Parker

Opening reception

Friday, 6-10 p.m.

Space 1026, 1026 Arch St.

www.space1026.com

 
 
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