“Peyak” is the Cree word for “one”. Bea Parsons chose it as the title of her first solo exhibition with McBride Contemporain because it projects and encapsulates a rhetorical, metaphoric centre that contains and radiates a set of artistic, social and personal ideas that she constantly engages with in the studio. Parsons imagines and develops her practice with the notion of oneness or “peyak” as an elusive but potent notion, carrying exploratory connotations of place, time, presentness (and therefore the implication of absence), belonging and exclusion, possible isolation and alienation, and communication from the one to the other, or the many. Not only as a method of engaging and dealing with dualities, “Peyak” as a root for many compound words and expressions in Cree can be used to express all of these ideas, and Parsons is the type of artist to pour over meanings and implications, always trusting her process but rigorously questioning it, at all times. Of Cree, Scottish and French origins, Parsons has engaged all her life with notions of identity and place, and grappled with the reality of both oneness and many-ness.
Her practice is a conglomeration of ideas, identities, influences and techniques, that scatter and come together again to achieve a precarious, but resolved balance. The monotypes in this exhibition are each unique edition printed works, combining several different drawing and painting approaches with the necessary technique and knowhow to bring the images to life with unique expression. Parsons’ works have a life of their own, a oneness or monism, not of belief but of personality and energy. They have an enthusiasm of rather than towards existence - their own and ours. Each of them proposes a discreetly lyrical, imaginative cosmos, a momentary narrative fragment of aesthetic time and a synchronic totality. Parsons explores an oneiric world, creating it as she works, planning and improvising equally, investing in a personal language of symbols and scenes that recur and build, but also leaving an unknown space for immediacy of invention, the possibility of constant surprise and visitation by unknown agencies, from within and beyond herself.