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Family in frames

For a man born and bred in Charlotte, Nathan Parker certainly has a soft spot for country living.
The artist’s exhibit, “Life Goes On,” now showing at the Lincoln Cultural Center, is full of images of old barns, road side stands and people working the land.
These scenes were inspired by trips taken to Washington, Ga. when Parker was a child.
“My mom was from the country,” he said. “We used to go to my grandaddy’s farm for family reunions.”
These trips to his grandparents farm also come out in his artwork of family. “Old Homestead #1” and “Old Homestead #2” are three-dimensional portraits of his grandparents complete with obituaries and signature items.
For his grandmother, he used a feather duster. His grandfather was commemorated with a hat.
“That’s his old farm hat he used,” said Parker.
Besides the portraits of his grandparents, the exhibit also includes portraits of his great-grandparents, complete with wrinkled cloth shirts. Parker also enjoys painting images of parents and grandparents spending time with children.
Many of these images have before and after shots. In “Father Love” a father is holding his son in his arms, rocking him to sleep. A small image in the corner shows the boy safely asleep in bed.
“In the Kitchen” shows a young boy cooking with his grandmother. A small image in the corner shows the boy licking the bowl. It’s a memory Parker holds dear.
“(My grandmother) used to always give me the bowl,” he said.
Besides pictures of family and farm life, Parker likes to paint old buildings. He incorporates his before and after work in these scenes as well.
Some of the buildings are shown old and dilapidated. Others, such as the one shown in “Lincoln” transform from nondescript buildings to a flashy new cinema.
Another series of pictures in the exhibit tackles a more serious subject. In “Just Say No” a woman smokes crack and overdoses.
The first image of the woman shows her doing drugs at her kitchen table. Her young son peers in through the window.
“One of the reasons I added him was to let people know that when you don’t think kids are looking at you, they are,” said Parker.
The last picture in the series shows the child sitting next to his overdosing mother.
“The child is looking up and praying for her,” he said.
The art exhibit also has a variety of miscellaneous pictures ranging from sunflowers to boxers.
“Life Goes On” will be shown in the Cochrane and Carolina Mills Galleries until Feb. 28. The galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Old Homestead #2” is a portrait of the artists’ grandfather who was a Georgian farmer. Chris Dean / LTN Photo

Nathan Parker’s art exhibit “Life Goes On” has many images of rural life and nature. Chris Dean / LTN Photo

by Sarah Grano

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