at Flight Museum, Mezzanine Gallery through october 26
by Todd Camplin

Flying machine genre paintings have fallen out of favor in contemporary art, I think
mostly because no one has been creative enough to merge the aesthetics of modern
painting styles with the image of flight. Sure, Rauschenberg and Rosenquist depicted
flight, but more in a broad cultural brush. John Chamberlain was a contemporary
car genre artist, who smashed up vehicles into interesting objects. But somehow
the subject of airplanes has not managed to take off the same way as the car
genre has, until now when along comes Don Parr.
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Frontier of Flight Museum has on display, Don Parr’s minimal streamline paintings/objects. These
works seem to come right off the planes and yet speak to the power of contemporary minimalist
style of art. Planes were born in the middle of the Modernist period, and by design these
machines continued to become more efficiently aerodynamic.
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Because these painting/objects directly reflect parts of planes, it comes as no surprise that Parr’s
images seem to cut through air and you can feel a sense of calm wind that lifts the viewer up
to feel a little lighter. In each work, I sense a real spirit of adventure and a feeling of flight, but
without the need to create a story like a traditional genre paintings attempt to achieve. He
doesn’t point to a particular model of airplane, but instead each painting takes on the soul
of a particular era of flight. This allows Parr to give you the feeling and emotion of flying, without
limiting your own imagination through purely illustrating a type of aircraft.
Grand Slam (the Powers U-2) * - 2011
3’x6’. Urethane on aluminum, mounted with aircraft rivets.
“J3 Wing,” a wood and silk span construction on acrylic painted canvas, looks almost like a
trophy from a pilot’s flight. It is as if the pilot took the wing home and mounted it to a wall.
But, then you look and you get a lot more than just a trophy. With the bright yellow strip, you
get a sense abstract speed. The white background implies airflow, but also acts as an abstract
color field. “Black Boxes” looks to be more like a musing on Josef Albers work, rather than anything
airplane related. A system of threes is in the work, and Parr creates a beautiful hard edge image.
J3 Wing * - 2011
3'x6'. Wood and silkspan constructed on acrylic painted canvas.
Tail Feathers * -  2012
3’x3’. Acrylic/urethane on aluminum panel.

White Wing * - 2012
3’x8’. Wood frame covered with silk on acrylic painted panel.
Of course, showing in a flight museum does over emphasise the content, but what better place
to celebrate the feeling of flying. Plus you can see a few other gems like the Apollo 7 module or
any number of aircraft. You will find his work at the Flight Museum, Mezzanine Gallery. Don Parr’s
show “Vectors: Abstractions in Aviation Art” will be up until October 26th.