Dean by day, painter by night. Collier B. Parker exhibits work in Suraci Gallery


Flyfishing on the Lackawanna,” oil on linen, by Collier B. Parker, is one of his many works on display at the Suraci Gallery.

Autumn Gramigna, Managing Editor

The Suraci Gallery, located in the Shields Center for Visual Arts, is playing host to the works of Collier B. Parker, dean of the Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts.

The exhibit showcases many of Parker’s landscape paintings locally as well as abroad. The majority of the pieces are oil paintings, but there are a couple of pastels in the mix that are more similar to a drawing.
Sandra Povse, gallery director, said she invited Parker to have a show two years ago as a way for him to formally and professionally present and establish himself within the department, college, university, and community.

“Dean Parker was grateful for the exhibition offer and accepted, but said he needed more time to further develop his body of work,” said Povse.

Several of the paintings were done four years ago when Parker traveled to Florence for five weeks with a group of students from his previous institution. The pastel pieces were completed this past summer when Parker vacationed in Italy.

Having received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Dominican University in Florence, Italy, Parker is well versed in the Italian culture.

“I love painting in Florence because I like the whole lifestyle there. I love the language. I love being able to go see the paintings in the Uffizi gallery,” Parker said referring to the famous art gallery in Italy.
In addition to the Italian landscapes, Parker also spent time over the past two summers painting the Lackawanna River.

After work, Parker would drive to a street close to the river (ironically named Parker Ave.), park his car, and paint. The painting session usually lasted for two hours, unless the light was still holding on.

Parker prepares all his own canvases and grinds some of his own paints, particularly the white paint that he uses in his work. After his materials are prepared, all of the paintings are done on sight. Each oil painting takes approximately 6-8 two hour sessions to complete.

Parker credits his landscape paintings to the fact he “loves being outside on sight painting nature and trying to capture the light, color, and sense of atmosphere that is there.”

While Parker says Florence is a little more preferable to paint, he does not discount the beauty of the Lackawanna River.

“It’s interesting to see the contrast between the two landscapes. The Lackawanna River is less cultivated, rawer. Italian landscape is shaped by man…civilization has been there longer,” Parker said.
At the moment, Parker does not have any new projects in the works. However, he’s already thinking about what to do next.

“Since I put this show together and talked to people about it, I’m really inspired to do some new work…I have a lot of new things to explore if I can find the time,” Parker said.

The exhibit titled “EVER-CHANGING LIGHT: Recent Landscape Paintings” will remain on display until May 3.