In the Same River Twice


October 15 – November 19, 2016

Opening Reception: October 15, 6-8 pm
1295 Alabama Street, San Francisco

Gallery Hours:  Tues – Sat 12-5pm

state is pleased to present In The Same River Twice, by San Francisco-based artist Erik Parra. For his hometown, solo exhibition debut, the artist presents a new collection of drawings with a corresponding drawing installation, and new paintings with a corresponding painting installation. The work continues the artist’s line of inquiry into mid-century visual tropes and their intersection with the construction of the American Dream. The exhibition will be on view from October 15 – November 19, 2016  with an opening reception on Saturday October 15 from 6-8pm. The artist will be in attendance.

“If a man is never in the same river twice, how is he to know?”

This age-old philosophical statement is as much about self-reflection as it is about the constancy of change. In The Same River Twice delves into the correlation of the designed environment and failed utopias in order to examine the idea of the American Dream. The exhibition examines the stories we tell ourselves in order to navigate the structures we build.

Parra’s work centers on the the mid-century structure as a metaphor for the way major narratives about the “Greatest Generation” were shaped for public consumption. Through this lens of history, the artist aims to shed light on how decisions from the past have reverberated into our current social concerns.

Narrative unfolds through a language of pictorial construction where objects within each painted or drawn interior are chosen for their potential for symbolic form — simultaneously loaded and banal. For instance, the artist uses unassuming tchotchkes to symbolize major public undertakings (American Exceptionalism, The Interstate Highway System and the Egyptian pyramids), prompting a dialogue about our cultural roots.

With an intense formal play on perspective, the artist offers multiple levels of access points for viewers to engage with these interiors. Upon initial observation, living rooms make sense as nostalgic, yet inhabitable spaces, but a closer look offers strange  vantage points and dueling perspectives generating menacing, alien environments.

To read Erik Parra’s artist statement about In the Same River Twice, please see>>

About Erik Parra

Erik Richard Parra was born and raised in the border metroplex of El Paso-Juárez. He received a Bachelors of Fine Art degree in painting from The University of Texas at Austin and completed a Masters of Fine Art while on fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Currently based in San Francisco, California, Erik has exhibited internationally in alternative spaces, commercial galleries and museums in Berlin, Brazil, Los Angeles, London and New York. In the Bay Area Erik’s work has been exhibited at Blankspace Gallery, Johansson Projects, The Headlands Center for theArts, Root Division, Southern Exposure, Kala Art Institute and the Berkeley Art Center. Erik’s work has been included in publications including New American Paintings, the SF Bay Guardian and the Los Angeles Times. Additionally Erik teaches art, has lectured at universities, given artist talks and has garnered residencies and awards.

About state

state is a new visual arts exhibition space in the Mission District of San Francisco. state exhibits contemporary art with an emphasis on Bay Area artists and project-based artwork. state is run by Danielle Smith and Kimberly Verde of FRAMEWORK.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12-5pm

LA Times Review


Day for Night

42 in x 30 in

acrylic, marker and spray paint on canvas


How to Build a Foghorn has been reviewed by the LA Times

I am over the moon to share this press clipping with you. Christopher Knight has been one of my favorite writers since I purchased his book of essays back in Graduate School..

from the LA Times:

Uncharted Seas in “How to Build a Foghorn” at Samuel Freeman

By Christopher Knight, Art Critic

“…Moody and dreamlike nocturnal landscapes in paintings by Erik Parra juxtapose suburban living rooms and backyard patios with vast starry skies, as if both are alien habitats…”

For the entire essay click here.

How to Build a Foghorn


Alongside the Noble and the Spledid
42 in. x 54 in.
Acrylic, Marker and spray paint on canvas

How to Build a Foghorn

July 16- August 27

Opening Reception July 16 from 5 -8pm

Samuel Freeman Gallery
2639 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Greetings friends. I wanted to let you know that I have been hard at work making some new paintings and three-dimensional paintings (sculptures) that will be part of an installation I will be building, starting later this week! The dust is almost settled and then we can celebrate. I hope that you will be able to join me in LA for the opening, if not I will certainly be posting a lot of images. Please check back for more news. Thank you for your support, as you know, it means the world to me.
Erik Parra

From the Samuel Freeman website:
“Samuel Freeman presents How to Build a Foghorn, an exhibition with Mie Olise, Erik Parra, Craig Kauffman and Bridget Beck. These artists translate the hidden language of the man-made landscape through painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture. We navigate our daily passage through a subconscious negotiation where expectations are met constantly and unnoticeably, but when the fog rolls in it creates an ambiguous environment without the normal cues for location or definition. The gathered works in How to Build a Foghorn do not so much warn of impending danger as reveal a different understanding of the reality all around us. Expected constructions shape-shift into novel configurations, ships, tree houses, benches and structures, while flowers become skyscrapers who have simply forgotten that scale is a matter of perspective.”

For more information please click here.

Monster Drawing Rally Tonight


Southern Exposure’s Annual Monster Drawing Rally is tonight! and I will be drawing from 8:00-9:00 pm. Come out and say hello this is a super fun event that supports an important and great organization. You can also follow along with all the fun on social media by looking for the hashtag #MDR2016, I will definitely be posting pics!

From the press release:

The famous live drawing event and fundraiser comes to newly-opened art space Minnesota Street Project Date: Friday, June 24, 2016 Time: 6:00 to 11:00 PM Tickets: $15 SoEx Members / $20 general public, available at and at the door Off-Site Location: Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco June 21, 2016, San Francisco, CA – Southern Exposure is pleased to announce its famous annual Monster Drawing Rally, a live drawing event and fundraiser that will take place on Friday, June 24, 2016 at Minnesota Street Project. Over the course of the night, 122 artists at all stages of their careers take shifts to draw for an hour in front a live audience, bringing their private studio practices to the public. As spectators spy on the creative process, sketches morph into full-fledged artworks made from collage, watercolor, ink, and graphite or even performative acts. Finished drawings are immediately available for $75 each.

For more information please click here.

Perpetual Sunset


I am happy to share that I have been invited to participate in a group exhibition titled Perpetual Sunset at 2731 Prospect Contemporary Art in Cleveland, OH. The exhibition opens this Saturday, June 17 and will run through July 30, 2016. I will also be giving an Artist talk at the gallery on Saturday July 23 at 2:00pm, so if you are going to be in Cleveland or know anyone who will be please let them know! A bit about the exhibit from the 2731 Prospect website:

“Perpetual Sunset features new work in painting and print media by Brandon Juhasz, Aaron Koehn and Erik Parra. This trio of artists are linked via their mutual interest in fabricated realities that seem to be subversively lurking in every corner of contemporary life. Their works collectively examine the odd visual and psychological slippages that occur within a swirl of glossy corporate branding, stock advertising imagery and manufactured interior spaces…”

For more information about this exhibit please click here.

In This Place


I am excited to announce that I am participating in the upcoming c2c/wc show, “in this place”. If you are around for the opening on Feb. 6th come through! I would love to see you and you can see one of two paintings that I started and completed in 2016!

From the Gallery’s Facebook page: “the artists “in this place” document their personal position in a landscape while creating situations that can experientially teleport a viewer into that space as well. By addressing fundamental apects of how we experience a local environment, such as angle, color, proportions, and the depiction of content, they indicate not only their physical experience of the represented space, but also how they are engaging emotionally and intellectually with their surroundings at that moment as well. This is true whether the work exhibited is a more traditional take on landscape, such as that from Diane Olivier or Kerry Law, or a more conceptual rendition, such as work by Andrew Prayzner or Eilish Cullen. This exhibition also includes artists Robert Minervini, Erik Parra, Chris Ballantyne and Karen Schifano who utilize an approach from a middle ground between these two extremes of practice, which effectively ties the work featured in the exhibition together into a singular comment on the nature of a material existence.

The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday, February 6 from 6-9pm. It will run through March 6 with gallery hours on Sundays from 12-5pm. c2c project space is at 1695 18th Street #413 in San Francisco (cross streets are Carolina and Arkansas).

mowaV.1 zine relase and artist talk


mowaV.1 zine release/artist talk

Transmission Gallery


From the gallery’s Facebook Announcement :

“Join us during Oakland’s First Friday events on January 8th for an artist talk from 7-8pm and a zine release. Erik Parra will be talking about his work in his current solo show “Each Devil His Own” on view at Transmission Gallery through January 23, 2016.”


Is the beginning of a book project that I started while creating the exhibition currently on view. mowa is a multiple volume, collage based zine that will also be published as hardbound, hand-stitched collection. Please stay tuned to this section for news and connect here for all of the latest news and information.

Thank You!

each devil his own


each devil his own

Transmission Gallery

December 4, 2015 – January 23, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, December 4th 6-9pm

Transmission Gallery is pleased to present the work of Erik Parra.  each devil his own will be an exhibition of paintings, drawings and a site specific installation that draws on tropes of the horrific, mid-century aesthetics and politics to ask questions about the origins of certain current sociopolitical narratives in the vernacular of pictorial construction. In three small series of original compositions Parra conflates his personal history and knowledge with mid-century historical narratives in order to view important, current social concerns through the lens of history. This serves as an entryway into a process of constructing images that draw on our conceptions of space and the stories we tell ourselves in order to navigate the environments we build.

For this exhibition the interior plays host to a range of potential conversations related to aesthetics, politics and history. Central to this exhibition is an examination of postwar historical narratives; such as white flight and the American space program and their challenging effects on contemporary society. Both darkness and lightness are employed to present not only familiar looking interior spaces but also for their expressive narrative effect. Objects within each painted interior are chosen for the potential of their symbolic form to be both simultaneously loaded and banal. This duality then resonates with similar formal choices within the work and drives the potential to open new space to create productive dialogue with the attendant issues. Parra is interested in drawing on our collective cultural memory as informed by the histories of painting, film, aggressive underground music and radical politics in order to paint a critical, collective self-portrait at a very critical time.

There will be an opening reception Friday, December 4th 6-9pm.

Installation Update


Greetings! I have updated the installation section of the site to include @Home,the cool project that I made this past summer while in residence at Project Grant in Buffalo, NY. Through this residency I was able to work with an amazing community to create a really ambitious project.

From the Project Grant website:

ERIK PARRA arrived on Monday, July 6, from San Francisco, to be an artist in resident for two weeks. Over the course of this time, we hosted Free Drawing and Painting Workshops at the Old First Ward Community Center. The works created became a part of an interactive public sculpture that the community members assisted on with the fabrication and design of. The grand opening of the piece happened for the City of Night Festival, Saturday, July 18, from 6pm-12am….”

For more information please click here.

Botanica: All Things Plant Life


I am extremely excited to be participating in a group exhibition titled Botanica: All Things Plant LIfe at the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

The exhibit runs from July 12 through September 6,2015. An opening reception will be held on Sunday July 12, from 3- 5 pm, admission is $5.
Unfortunately I will miss the opening as I will be in Buffalo but I am available for a walk through of the exhibit upon my return to San Francisco in late July. If you are interested please send me a message.

About Botanica, from the Bedford Gallery website:
“From 16th Century Flemish painters, to Cézanne and the Post Impressionists, the color and variety found in plant life, as well as the potent symbolism, has made it a popular subject for still-lifes and artist studies. Botanica asks artists to draw on these themes to create artwork that explores how plant life can be represented in a diverse reach of media.”

For more information about the exhibit please click here, and for more about the Bedford Gallery please click here.