Helm: John Parot
HELM: JOHN PAROT
John Parot's work is situated within the mediums of drawing, painting, and installation. His drawings, usually composed with a striking color palette including neon, hot pink, deep red, and blues, often feature floating faces, donned with lips, eyes, and hairdos appropriated from porn and fashion magazines. These are then overspread in pen with web-like designs, connoting tribal ornamentation such as textiles and tattoos. In Endless Stare, over forty pairs of disembodied eyes in various colors and fabrics from disco dresses and shirts to satin pillowcases form an immersive installation. The eyes confront, but also surreptitiously leer at the viewer and become, to borrow from Donald Preziosi, "templates for the composition of our interpersonal selves."
Parot's work stretches between the fantastical and a meditation on more earthly and carnal subjects: his work often ponders desire and questions notions of identity as it is constructed through gender, ritual practice, habits, and gay/cultural traditions.
Parot's work for the HELM series is about the stare, the leer, looking, and longing. Throughout the decades staring and looking have been actions central to gay male culture. Glances in parks and in the streets marked the beginning. The emergence of male physique magazines in the early 60's provided a different means to satisfy the furtive gaze. The 70's & 80's brought the stare to over-the-top porn films. Today's media technology has dispersed the gay stare everywhere on the internet with tumblr blogs devoted to specific types of men, personal phones with cameras and internet and specific sites which enable cruising and viewing photos anywhere. In the words of Parot, "We do what they did and future men will do it as well. We stare."