The Block, photograph/ink, 20"x18"
Text, urban landscapes and out of focus images show up regularly in my work as the aesthetic vocabulary I use to explore themes of urban poverty, the home and memory. As a conceptual artist, I work primarily with photography, but also produce paintings, textiles, and pieces using urban ephemera. Within each medium, I am concerned with how we make things known visually when image and language intersect. Committed to bending art in the direction of justice, my work is a visual poetic of the urban ghetto, understood as a place of both concentrated disadvantage and oppression. With hand-written text on photographs, word-stitched denim, text paintings and altered artifacts, I seek to make the poor urban experience visible.
Although the work I make is political, the aesthetic of resistance manifests itself in quiet ways. The work often has a meditative and dreamlike quality, akin to memory. It is contemplative in a spirit of resistance born from the issues of living, and from the quest for dignity. It seeks to make visible with clarity and stillness the subtleties of poor urban life and the politics of poverty. Visually I try to arrive here in two primary but contradictory ways: through the precision of language and the imprecision of form. The texts attached to the images point to the importance of the words we use, and the accuracy with which we describe our experience. Yet, the imprecision of the images I create is also central to theway I approach the work. It is important to me as a sort of moral aesthetic, as if seeing in and out offocus could be a social and spiritual exercise to sharpen our awareness. In fact, the purpose of my work is to stimulate sensitivity and social responsiveness in the viewer as a possible way to cultivate a renewed political sensibility toward the marginalized.
The art I make is derived from my specificity as a once poor urban American constructing an understanding of place as an immigrant in the context of public housing. Within the reflections on home and memory, the work is also concerned with inviting the viewer into an intimate experience with the subject matter. I am obliged to try to evoke a penetrating visual intuition of an experience of home if I am to ask the viewer to contemplate the possible reversibility of our situations. My project considers whether an aesthetic experience could encourage the awakening of a socially conscious political self.
Magda Parasidis was born in Greece and immigrated to New York city in 1980, settling in a public housing project in Queens, NY. Her work as a conceptual artist comes out of that experience, and a lifelong pursuit of documenting her environment in photographs and words. While the making of art has been her primary focus in recent years, the passage to professional artist has evolved from a path as a creative. A degree in art history from the Johns Hopkins University began her career, working with institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Venice. She transitioned to applied arts with graduate work in Jewelry Design, and spent much of her 20s and early 30s as a designer in the NY fashion scene and with her own label. Dedicated to her art practice since 2013, she has an upcoming solo exhibition at Otterbein University in 2020. She lives with her husband and two children in Columbus, Ohio.