View the 15 minute video:  Steve Parmelee Assemblage  by filmmaker Cameron Snow, produced for Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, 2018

View the 15 minute video: Steve Parmelee Assemblage by filmmaker Cameron Snow, produced for Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, 2018

   Follow on  Facebook  and  Instagram  for up-to-date schedule, and process photos. 

Follow on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date schedule, and process photos. 

   call/message 360 301 5587  -   mail@steveparmelee.com

call/message 360 301 5587  -  mail@steveparmelee.com

   Available for purchase on Amazon;  Steve Parmelee: Assemblage volume one

Available for purchase on Amazon; Steve Parmelee: Assemblage volume one

collected thoughts

 Much of my found material comes from estate sales, where I often make acquaintances with the deceased who can only speak to me through the keepsakes in junk drawers and cellars. Estate sales can be a spiritual place, as well as a treasure trove of everyday relics, and often time capsules of a bygone era. I started seeing the sacred in the discarded, and felt compelled to find an after-life for what might seem completely worn-out. I draw my inspiration from the patinas that build up on everyday utensils, the wear and erosion that affect tools, and the way an object is marked by the ages. I’m always on the hunt for interesting artifacts to use, ones that are interesting but too far gone for utility, or too damaged to be collectible.

My collecting feeds my artwork, and my artwork fuels my collecting.

My process begins by filling shelves and drawers with worn found objects, organizing them by use or shape. I will then intuitively gather small piles together onto a table into potential assemblages. About half of the time, I invite interesting objects to my work bench, bringing various compatible items onto the pile, guided by a developing story or emotion, trusting the finished piece will convey a meaningful narrative. The other half of the time, I begin with a concept sketched in my notebook, and then become hunter & gatherer for the fitting ingredients. I’ve had equal success with both approaches. Common challenges include: holding objects to a common theme, keeping a unified color palate, and maintaining the sense of scale & balance while creating dynamic visual interest. I choose to drill and fasten with vintage hardware as much as possible, with minimal glue or welding, allowing me to disassemble and make revisions or additions. My tarnished old screws, nuts & bolts are often visible - proudly revealing the engineering behind the pieces. I strive to maintain the as-found faded patinas, resulting in a subdued color palette, evoking the aged warmth of a sepia-toned photograph. I feel a generational connection with these objects handled by unknown past lives. I try to relate a concept or emotion in my work, playing off of the the frailty, or durability, of the found objects, and the undercurrents that they bring.

A tactile wisdom radiates from worn patinas. The inclusions can strike an individual, or even collective, memory. I believe there is an often overlooked beauty in the ordinary, and a worth in the discarded. While we may feel evolved beyond our ancestors everyday dilemmas, a weathered, seemingly century-old piece of contemporary artwork may be a reassuring reminder of the timelessness of the human condition.

Recent showings

Group Show 'Home'  Bainbridge Island Museum of Art - Spring 2018

'Make/Do' Exhibition  Washington State History Museum - Summer 2018

Juror Kingston Arts Festival - July 2018

Group Show 'Birds & Bees' Bainbridge Art & Crafts - Feb 2017

Artist in Residence  Bainbridge RAGS - July 2017

'What's the Story?' Group Show  Linda Hodges Gallery - Dec 2016

'Make: Believe' Trio Show  Northwind Arts - Sept 2016 

Solo Show Bainbridge Island Museum of Art - Spring, Summer 2016

Group Show 'Lost & Found' Bainbridge Art & Crafts - Feb 2016

Winner 2015 Northwind's Book Inspired Show -  People's Choice Award

Winner 2015 Edmonds Arts Festival - 2nd Place - 3-D

Winner 2015 Northwind's Another Look Show - Juror's Choice Award

Winner 2015 Northwind's Small Expressions Show -  People's Choice Award

Member of Front Street Gallery, an artist co-op in Poulsbo, 2013 - present

Participant in Art In The Woods Studio Tour 2013, 2014, 2015

Participant in Bainbridge Island Studio Tour Summer 2014, 2015

Participant in Bemis Spring Show - 2014

Winner 2013 CVG Show - 1st Place 3D, and Overall People's Choice

Winner 2013 Edmonds Arts Festival - 2nd Place - Sculpture