Poetry has the capacity - to quote Adrienne Rich - 'to play around with the notion that day might be night, love might be hate; nothing can be too sacred for the imagination to turn into opposite or to call experimentally by another name. For writing is renaming." There is a poetic tension at the heart of Daisy Parris' work: both viscerally raw and intuitively emotive, it dwells between experience and language, the unknown and known. This poetics of individual and collective experience is tenderly executed in Parris' solo show I see you in everyone I love, where the loss of another transforms into a gesture of tactical hope.
Parris does not shy away from leaning into the complexity and difficulties of the past and present and how they float together and intersect. Even the titles of the works explore these memories of relationality: ' A Storm Inside You'; 'Sorry Three Times' and 'A Storm the Night You Went' each the ebbing and flowing of feelings and time. These linguistic gestures create the complex web of abstract yearning, tenderness, and starkness, all of which are woven within these abstractions of alchemy through the prism of mourning.
Yet there is always a thread of emotional potency and unpredictability in the abstract formations - found in the raw marks and bold, unruly brush strokes which generate a sense of clarity and integrity. 'The Light' allows the viewer to experience Parris' depiction of hope in a diluted, purer form: one where the vibrations and rough marks of pink appear woven over a red vexed underlay. There is a sense of searching and attention to language which feels indicative of unfinished pasts and presents, where future poems are only gestured towards a potential becoming, yet remain not fully formed.
In similar measure, grief can open onto terrains of catharsis, this duality is perhaps the most potent of Parris' adorning brushstrokes. Collective experience is also made apparent through fragmentary phrases. Titles such as 'Sadness Comes and Goes Throughout the Day' encapsulate the rhythm and longevity of life's complex tapestry of emotion, where a sense of temporality is familiar; tepid. In this way, each painting acts as a proposition to the viewer and the artist, a communal sense of grief and uncertainty, despite the paintings being profoundly visceral and personal.
The fine balancing of lived mourning, between death and life brings Parris' work an eternal freshness and veracity. It is with this charged conviction of relationality, where brushstrokes are both rough and raw, tender and pensive. As viewers, we are asked to look; we are invited to meditate upon the rugged woven tapestry of life, for all its charged complexities of grief, hope and grieving.
- Hatty Nestor, January 2022
Hatty Nestor is a cultural critic and writer, published in Frieze, The Times Literary Supplement, Granta, The White Review and other publications. Ethical Portraits (2021) is published with Zero Books.