On March 23rd, 2021 strong winds buffeted the 400-meter-long container ship known as the Ever Given, wedging the boat across the busy Suez Canal for 6 days and obstructing an estimated $9.6B USD of trade in that time. Unsurprisingly the ship quickly achieved meme-status as the Ever Given’s misfortune provided an easy visual pun for the feeling of stuckness collectively felt by most this past year.
Of all the things that were ever-given in 2020, time was provided in abundance. But its passage, like the Ever Given, was halted and delayed, veered off course, reflected, refracted, and juggled. The dates for Parsons’ exhibition shifted numerous times before finally being able to arrive at an opening date, as did her access to the print shop in Montreal where she produced most of the work for this show. Easily distorted under the pressure of larger ecological and political forces, in Any Given Time, time as a concept and unit of measurement is ripe for intervention.
Though the distance felt throughout this past year has often been one of proximity, Parsons instead uses time’s vulnerability to shorten temporal distances, connecting generations of knowledge to her own contemporary experience of the world and its material and psychic phenomena. Subverting any singular or linear progression, Parsons suggests time as a series of looped and stochastic passages that can be navigated with the aid of ancestral wisdom. Her monoprints conjure beginnings that lead with their ends and horizonless middles. Rather than wander these directionless spaces alone, guidance is made available by ancestors that are here with us at any given time. For births and babies, deaths and lives lived.
Bea Parsons (b. 1981 in Saskatoon, Canada) is based in Tiohtia:ke/Montreal, Quebec where she is represented by McBride Contemporain. She holds an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University of New York (2012) and a BFA in Painting & Drawing (2010) and Art Education (2008) from Concordia University. Parsons has taught full time at Concordia University, Montreal (2017-2019), UC Davis (2016-2015), and the University of Texas, Austin (2013-2015). Children’s art education plays a vital role in her career through her teaching at Montreal’s Visual Art Center and a teaching residency a Winnipeg’s Art City. Parsons has participated in residences including the Catwalk Institute (NY), the Kala Institute (Berkley, CA) and the Wallace Stegner House (Eastend Saskatchewan, Canada). In 2012 she was the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Grant in New York City. Her work is included in numerous collections including the Musée d'art de Joliette and Hydro-Quebec.