Rebecca Parkin

b. 1973, Sheffield, UK

Fathom, 2021
Pastel and charcoal on paper
148 x 223 cm

The aquatic-erotic, 2022
Pastel and charcoal on paper
65 x 81 cm

A mermaid, sensuously hand-drawn in charcoal, leans onto a rock, casually running her hands through her long blonde hair. The source material is Darryl Hannah in Splash, a 1984 romantic comedy about a man who falls in love with a (secret) mermaid. As well as paying homage to this pop cultural reference, Rebecca Parkin’s Fathom digs into the thorny and tangled relationship between feminine mystique with the sea, as expressed through pop culture like Splash. In Parkin’s words, “my current theme takes the hybrid and mesmeric ‘merwoman’, centralizing her as the principle figure and agent of nature. Her association with sex, lust and wonder, the commodification of the natural world and simultaneous fear and fantastical ‘othering’ of the feminine are woven together in sensuous charcoal and pastel drawings.

This body of work builds upon Parkin’s previous research into representations of both male and female archetypes within cinema and pop culture, including the witches and ‘green women’ of science fiction and horror. “My work takes the form of narrative cycles exploring multiple fictions within popular culture, art history and mythology,” Parkin writes. “Popular tropes from horror, science fiction and fantasy from high and low culture are re-animated and reworked. The construction of the feminine as a figure of enchantment and subversion is central to my practice, drawing heavily on counter-myth and social fantasy. Subjects often exhibit uncomfortable dualities, arousing disgust or distaste alongside desire.”

London-based artist Rebecca Parkin (b. 1973, UK) specialises in drawing and painting. In 2007 she won the Bazil H Alkazzi Foundation Scholarship Award, an award given to one MA Fine Art student a year while attending the Royal College of Art, London. She graduated in 2009, concurrently featuring in Bloomberg New Contemporaries, which she appeared in again during 2021/22. Recently, in 2021, Parkin completed a year at the Turps Painting School on the off-site Fine Art painting course and was also interviewed by Fay Nicholson for the art salon, ‘Salome Salmacis’.


︎ @rebeccaparkinartist