CALL OF THE WILD: THE ART OF PARKS REECE
Author: Parks Reece
Publisher: RIVERBEND PUBLISHING, Sep 2002
Book reveals artist?s ?peculiar perception? of nature. Features 114 of Reece?s celebrated paintings & lithographs plus essays on Parks & his art by authors Tim Cahill Scott McMillion.
A new book by Livingston, Montana, artist Parks Reece combines beautiful art and good writing to form an exceptionally attractive gift book.
Call of the Wild: The Art of Parks Reece features 114 of Reece?s celebrated paintings and lithographs plus essays on Parks and his art by noted Livingston authors Tim Cahill (Hold the Enlightenment) and Scott McMillion (Mark of the Grizzly), sonnets by Bozeman, Montana, poet Greg Keeler (American Falls), and essays by Parks and his son, Myers Reece.
The hardcover, coffee-table book is the first published collection of Reece?s art, which has drawn a large following in recent years. Art critic and novelist William Hjortsberg, author Jim Harrison, and artist Russell Chatham have praised Reece?s unique style and vision. Actors Robert Redford and Whoopi Goldberg have purchased original paintings for their art collections.
Combining technically fine art with his self-acknowledged ?peculiar perception? of the natural world, Reece?s artwork is peppered with wry images of animals and people in exquisitely painted natural settings. The lithograph, ?One Night Near the Nuclear Plant,? seems like a peaceful scene until one notices that the wild animals are glowing, more presumably from radiation. The book?s title piece, ?Call of the Wild,? shows a bull elk silhouetted against magnificent mountains. Close inspection reveals the elk talking on a phone hanging from a tree. Works such as ?Amid A Summer Night?s Dream,? ?The Human Race,? and ?After the Spawn? succeed in surprising viewers in a process that Reece calls ?adding levity to gravity.?
In the book?s introduction, Cahill points out that Reece is a highly trained artist, having been tutored as a youth by nationally known painters and later graduating from the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute. Cahill describes Reece?s art as ?surreal realism? but calls Reece, who grew up in North Carolina, ?a man who combines courtly southern charm with the common sense and propriety of Bozo the Clown.?
Because of his love for painting wildlife in unusual situations, some observers have drawn similarities between Reece and Missoula artist Monte Dolack, but Reece?s style and use of colors is much different. A statewide example of Reece?s work can be seen in the commemorative poster, ?Everybody Loves Shakespeare,? that he completed for this year?s 30th anniversary of Montana State University?s Shakespeare in the Parks. The poster shows a crowd of Montana animals, including a Tyrannosaurus rex, enjoying a mountain lion ?king? and a grizzly bear ?fool? performing Shakespeare?s ?King Lear.? This artwork is reproduced in the book. Reece?s art also has appeared many times in the literary magazine Big Sky Journal.
Todd Wilkinson of Bozeman wrote in Wildlife Art News that ?Reece has become something of a legend, and his paintings are collector?s items.?