Call of the Wild
The Art of Parks Reece The critics have spoken …..
Call of the Wild is smart, fresh, and funny.
“Think Van Gogh meets The Far Side – and you might begin to understand artist Parks Reece.”
“A NATURAL SURREALIST…In one richly hued, lushly, even mysteriously textured painting after another, Reece seduces the eye and zaps the mind with such funny and piquant images as a tiny man running from a giant spooky, white rooster in “Poultrygeist,” or, in “Advanced Nymphing,” one of many underwater fishing scenes, an impressive trout about to take the bait: a tiny nude woman. Who is this adept artist and jokester? Crisply composed and outright hilarious essays portray Reece as blithely eccentric and deeply inspired, prone to pranks, escapades, accidents and serendipitous discovery. In Montana he developed his unique style and sensibility, and his whimsical yet shrewd perspective on the complex relationship between humankind and the rest of nature. As these magnetic works hold our attention with their resplendent beauty and gentle satire, we slowly recognize that the power inherent in these spellbinding depictions of animal dreams and the perpetual cycle of life and death is mystical.”
The Chicago Tribune
"An untamed imagination…To take a walk on the wild side with alchemical artist Parks Reece is to tumble down a rabbit hole into a mystical Montana where grizzlies fly-fish for humans and luminous rainbow trout big as 747’s soar over midnight mountains…Invariably, the tables are turned on us humans in Reece’s painted wilderness. Trained as a fine artist, he gleefully dances on a razor’s edge between art and kitsch, tweaking our notions of reality with wit and beguiling us with mystery."
Los Angeles Times
“…the Royal Jester of modern Western art has to be Parks Reece of Livingston, Montana. The selections in his book Call of the Wild display his strengths: his slow burning witticisms have, cumulatively, a profound effect, partly because they slyly subvert the tyranny of the outdoor landscape. At first, Reece’s paintings snag the viewer the way humorous art has since the first knock-knock hieroglyphics: they make you smile. …Reece has a deeply playful mind … The last, though perhaps most durable, aspect of Reece’s painting is that the Western landscape is concretely present but, at the same time, abstracted. You become very fond of these vistas, once-removed, and appreciate just how closely observed they are. After a while, the viewer notices that the Krazy Kritters cavorting in this landscape are the exact fauna suited to this eccentric ecology. Then you stop thinking about the jokes, and start thinking about Parks Reece as simply an unsentimental, exquisitely modern painter of the West."
WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station
"…A most remarkable showcase of the warm and often whimsical artwork of Parks Reece…centered around the double themes of nature and wry commentaries or puns…Highly recommended and uniquely memorable.”
The Midwest Book Review
“…It’s not often one gets to laugh while looking at an art book, but it’s impossible not to chuckle upon paging through the collection of the works of ….artist Parks Reece. Even the essays and poetry are humorous, capturing Reece the man and the artist and his strangely imagined world of wildlife, respectively. But beyond the wit, it’s apparent that Reece is a fine painter and printmaker, and his reproductions are well executed in the vivid colors and forms he is known for. ‘Here,’ writes Tim Cahill in his essay, ‘is an artist who has never lost his childlike sense of wonder’.”
The Bloomsbury Review
“As writer William Hjortsberg said, ‘In the hands of Parks Reece, fine art becomes fun once again, and God bless him for that.’ This book embodies that sentiment.”
Big Sky Journal
“…The eccentric art of painter Parks Reece is explored in Call of the Wild. Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Reece now calls Montana home, and it is there that he creates his intriguing paintings, which frequently combine realism with touches of humor and surrealism."
“…willing and able to embody the Montana myth of cowboy romantic…A lavish publication tracing his development.”
“It’s wacky, sometimes in a laugh-out-loud funny way, but more often subtly. Think what would happen if you crossed a fine wildlife painter with Gary Larson of “Far Side” cartoon fame, and you get a hint of what Parks Reece is like. “Re-introducing the Wolf to Yellowstone,” for example, shows a wolf shaking hands with a (park ranger) who has a line of other animals behind him. “Bear Repellent” shows a bear rappelling on a rocky promontory. “Elvis Sighted in Montana” speaks for itself. Try “Jurassic Pork” or “The Dreaded Cholesterowl” or “Noah Shark.” “The Legend of Velcro” has to be seen to be believed. All these puns and jokes are attached to exquisite paintings in which nature is the prime subject.”
“Imagine a stream where rainbow trout grow as big as houses, or a shack in the mountains where alcohol from the heavens is poured nonstop. That’s a man’s (and tough woman’s) world, one far removed from the coffee table or the salon. It’s a testament to Reece’s humor, heart and artistic skills that Call of the Wild fits equally well in both worlds. Or, better yet, that both those worlds fit in Reece’s variegated shape-shifting universe. There bears call the shots, chasing putative fly fishermen from the streams and taking over. It’s a place where eagles pluck Volkswagens from roads, or shaggy beasts think sublime thoughts.”
Charlotte Sun Herald (Florida)
“Imagine a wildlife artist who possesses both extraordinary artistic vision and off-the-wall irreverence, whose unique perspective blends the sacred and the slapstick onto a canvas. Think Van Gogh meets The Far Side-and you might begin to understand Montana artist Parks Reece. Call of the Wild is a beautiful, impressive and thoroughly amusing book-as original as the artist himself.”
"The book is, first, beautifully composed, with each painting giving way to the next in elegant, whimsical fashion. These artful insights will leave you nodding, chuckling and wanting more.”
Billings Gazette (Montana)
“Parks Reece takes the fear and intimidation out of fine art and serves it up with a sense of humor.”
The Montana Standard
“Guaranteed to keep you laughing…Amid surreal, dappled backdrops, Reece’s subjects incorporate his wholly unique vision of the natural world. In “Grizzly Tools,” a bear carries two beavers towards a tree in which a human has taken refuge. “After the Spawn” depicts a pair of beautifully rendered rainbow trout smoking cigarettes.”
“Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Parks Reece.”
Great Falls Tribune
Now have a look at a story: Some Town Trout
For a report on Parks south of the border, check out Tim Cahill’s piece written for Outside Magazine