"Kris Parmele Sculptures Specializes In Commissioned Portraits In Bronze Of Historical World Changing Figures"
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BRONZE SCULPTURE BY PORTLAND ARTIST TO BE PERMANENTLY PLACED IN AMERICA’S OLDEST CATHEDRAL
Art buyer donates “The Blessing” in memory of her late father
Portland, Ore. (April 18, 2006) – When Boring, Oregon artist Kris Parmele completed the casting of her sculpture featuring Mother Teresa with a child entitled, “The Blessing,” she had envisioned her artwork providing inspiration by gracing the interior of a local church or hospital. Far from the realm of her imagination was the sculpture’s ultimate placement in such a prestigious facility as the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The neoclassical Minor Basilica, now designated a National Shrine and National Historic Landmark, is located on a hill above Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. This first great metropolitan cathedral constructed in America following the adoption of the Constitution will celebrate its 200th anniversary and grand reopening on November 4, 2006, after undergoing an extensive two-year restoration. In honor of the rededication, Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. has proclaimed 2006 “The Year of the Baltimore Basilica.”
On May 29, 1996, Mother Teresa of Calcutta graced the Basilica with her presence by receiving the renewal of vows of 35 of her Missionaries of Charity. Thus, when Antoinette Amato of Tacoma, Washington spotted the sculpture at Yoshida’s Fine Art Gallery (206 NW 10th, Portland, Ore.) in early April, the thought of donating the art piece to the Basilica in her late father’s name seemed a perfectly fitting gesture. “The Blessing” is currently in transit to its new home, where Parmele hopes it will touch the hearts of viewers as greatly as the real-life subject, Mother Teresa, touched those of millions of people around the globe, crossing over racial and religious barriers.
Artist Kris Parmele
Kris Parmele, an Oregon native, has been honing her artistic craft for more than 30 years. In all of her pieces Parmele strives to be technically accurate, believing attention to detail is fundamental for penetrating into and drawing out the essence of the humanity she desires to capture. Her development of facial expressions and physical movement in both clay and bronze results in delightful, contemporary personalities with stories to tell. It is Parmele's vision that individuals viewing her sculptures will be mentally stimulated and emotionally impacted. "The Blessing," a spiritual masterpiece, will undoubtedly accomplish both for future visitors of the Basilica.
The Basilica’s cornerstone was laid in July 1806, after which it has become a symbol of the religious freedom upon which this country was created. In a newfound nation, Bishop Carroll appealed to his parishioners and the population of all religions for their support and generosity, resulting in an outpouring of gifts from around the world.
As the country’s first archdiocese, two-thirds of U.S. Catholic dioceses can trace their heritage to this location. Under its auspices also came a series of other firsts, including the first order of African-American nuns. Since 1976, the Basilica has seen visits by Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, as well as hosted the ordainment of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus.
Two Americans guided the Basilica’s original design and architecture: John Carroll, the country’s first bishop, later Archbishop of Baltimore, and cousin of Charles Carroll, who signed the Declaration of Independence; and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, an architect of the U.S. Capitol and father of American architecture, who was inspired by President Thomas Jefferson. Carroll, founder of Georgetown University, is buried in the Basilica crypt along with James Cardinal Gibbons and other Baltimore archbishops.
About the Gallery
Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery features more than 5,000 square feet of original artwork by more than 40 premier artists. Accenting the artwork are antique Chinese collectibles ranging from 80 to 300 years in age, each personally selected by Linda Yoshida, Gallery Director, during her annual visits to Shanghai. Yoshida’s gallery has been named "The Best of the West" in national publication Southwest Art Magazine in three consecutive issues and continues to claim exclusive art décor rights to several designer homes at the annual Street of Dreams and Parade of Homes.
Yoshida’s Wine Bar & Bistro
A unique feature of the Yoshida Gallery is Yoshida’s Wine Bar & Bistro, offering much sought after wines, assorted beers and live jazz music. A diverse retail section includes both imported and domestic wines, and special requests are encouraged. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Call for private bookings.
Located at 206 NW 10th Avenue in Portland, Ore., Yoshida’s Fine Art Gallery, Wine Bar & Bistro is part of the Yoshida Group, a conglomeration of 18 diverse companies headquartered in Portland, Ore. Products range from Jones Golf bags to Prison Blues® garments. Open 7 days a week, gallery hours are 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday and 12pm-5pm on Sunday.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
er art comes from within, where it lay quietly for years, gathering a life force of its own. As Kris Parmele reclaims it now, drawing it out of herself to form the bronze sculptures that are winning her acclaim, it is with the urgency of a woman who knows how time slips away. "Your life gets caught up, or you allow it to get caught up," Parmele says. "It takes focus to get back to what you feel your life's calling is." But there's no desperation in her approach now, no sense of years wasted as she evolved from childhood artist to teenage rebel, garden worker, secretary, wife, mother, home-school teacher and, finally, artist again.
And at 50, with her
daughter and son grown, and with a new studio overlooking downtown Gresham's
Main Avenue, Parmele is at peace with her creativity. Despite limited formal
training, her pieces are at two galleries, including Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery
in Portland's Pearl District. Her work ranges from an emotional rendering of
wrinkled Mother Teresa blessing a child, to playful Japanese figures, to a
commissioned ocean-themed medallion and tiles that will be installed in a marble
What's pouring out of Parmele now is the answer to all those people who asked her during those missing years, "What are you doing with that talent of yours?"
But she didn't pursue it after high school, despite the urgings of an art
teacher. Instead, she graduated early, and kicked loose of ties and
expectations. She worked five years as a gardener for a prominent restaurant
family, learning as much about how to proceed in life as about how to care for
orchids. Later, in what she describes as a total flip, she spent 18 months doing
secretarial work for the Port of Portland.
Yoshida, the gallery
owner, shakes her head at Parmele's trepidation.
The old man has no
shirt yet. Although a buyer will never see it, Parmele sculpts her figures'
bodies first, then "dresses" them with another layer of clay. If she did
otherwise, the clothing would not hang naturally, she says.
Mother Teresa, which took nine months to make and sells for $9,500, remains Parmele's favorite piece.
Each clay piece is a hand-made original, which has been repeatedly fired at 275°F as separate components are incorporated into the work
The clay figure taking shape in Parmele's studio
is a Japanese mask maker, a master craftsman bent over his work. She experiments
with him, suddenly deciding to give him a beard, cap and ponytail. "I like the
thought of him looking older; his personality emerges," she says. "I love it
when what I see in my mind starts to take form."
Parmele is blonde with light blue eyes, with an easy smile and laugh. She stays slender from a regimen of competitive tennis, gym workouts and, she half-jokes, life stresses that include seeing to the care of her aging parents. She lives in Boring, but her Gresham studio is her "Bat Cave," she says, a spot of her own to work, read and study.
She grew up Kris La Ford in Portland's Eastmoreland neighborhood, the youngest of three children in an intense, emotionally driven family. She discovered a gift for sculpture in high school, where she enjoyed stunning and delighting people with bizarre, flowing creations.
It was her intent, she says, to capture the love and compassion that flowed
through Mother Teresa from God.
Kris Parmele of Boring, Oregon
has discovered that working with bronze gives her imagination free reign for
creativity. “The possibilities of form are limitless given the strength and
malleability of this medium, while the variations of patina are inviting. It’s
classic beauty brings pleasure and ignites inspiration, for generations….as its’
value increases.” Works of art made in bronze will truly survive into the future
providing a window of understanding for the viewer about a particular place in
time and culture….as an artist, these qualities stimulate her.
It is her vision that individuals viewing her sculptures will be mentally stimulated, emotionally impacted and pleasantly surprised.
Recently, Kris trained in patina application and is now putting the finishing touches on her own creations. A new addition to her figurative bronzes, which include “Left Behind” and “The Blessing,” includes the “Kazoku (Japanese family) Collection.”
Each clay piece is a hand-made original, which has been repeatedly fired at 275F as separate components are incorporated into the work.
Each member of the series represents a segment of the Japanese community, includes historical reference as well as artistic license, and may involve Raku techniques.
However, due to the fact that each piece is delicately constructed, careful handling is recommended as would be taken with a porcelain figure.
Furthering a genuine interest in relationships within the Kazoku, Kris Parmele expanded her sculpture medium to include bronze relief artwork, which is being featured for the first time at Yoshida’s Fine Art Gallery.