Corso; "The windows of Paradise open. In fly flocks of multicolored birds. Light winged light..." That's where her head is. She began life studying poetry. Moved to painting. Took on theatre. Assumed, and welcomed the commitments and responsibilities of human love; and citizenship.

The bio reads like a cultural abstract of the time. Two solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Two at the Library and Museum Of The Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Set and costume design for the San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Opera; solo show at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum. Work at Vorpal, Gumps, Weyhe, Ankrum galleries...

Commissions for regional theatre, dance, and opera companies. Berkeley Stage, California Shakespeare, South Coast Rep, the North Carolina School of the Arts, Jacobs Pillow...

Award winning film (on garbage) for the Enviromental Protection Agency...

Design for Patrica Montandon of a half-mile long banner memorial to child victims of war - carried by children around the entire world. Most recently, diagram and illustration on a giant scroll for R.G. Davis' mimetic tract on symbiosis.

Public Service.

Blake: "The Imagination Is Spiritual Sensation. The world is a world of Imagination and Vision."
Art is a service. Art is a way of turning everything in the universe that a given human being is capable of experiencing to account.

Comment On The Work


ALFRED NEUMEYER art historian
The work of Ariel Parkinson flows from reality toward vision. ......Design and color move toward each other but are never identical. Colors are evocations and essences .... Her pictures recall occasionally Odilon Redon and the early work of Kokoschka. They are a distillation of enchantment and fear, reaching from the blue of dreams to the red of fire.

Ariosto seems to do for Ariel what the 19th century German romantics do for me: they show us the ideal balance of man and nature, the meeting place of human sensibility and natural perfection.

Mrs. Parkinson's paintings have always stressed the visionary and the grandiose, and now her style has grown up to her ideas. The canvases have become quite large, but every one of them conveys a charge of intuition and emotion in keeping with its size. The pictures are full of angels and other shining presences which Blake would have understood, but the baroque energy of the artist's forms and her earthy, rich, heavily worked color are very much her own.


THE MAGIC FLUTE San Francisco Opera (Stern Grove)
Richard Pontzious, San Francisco Exaiminer:    First kudos of the day have to go to Ariel for creating a charming production of Mozart's "Wizard of Oz" Her simple, yet satisfying blue, purple, and green costumes and flats made the stage look festive and opened the door to a number of happy surprises, including a sinister-looking Chinese dragon made of balloons, and a frock for the bird-catcher Papageno, that made him look like a blue version of Sesame Street's Big Bird.

Marilyn Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle:    Roasales presence (Queen of the Night) was aided by Ariel's fanciful concoction of a "Flute" production that began with Tamino chased by an enormous dragon composed of hundreds pf blue and green balloons. Ariel's costume for Rosales made the Queen seem to have dropped from the sky, with long, filmy draperies cinched to her body, then carried up and beyond the giant backdrop.

PASSIONE Albert Innaurato / Berkeley Stage Company
Bernard Weiner, San Francisco Chronicle :    Ariel's setting - a nightmarishly colorful hovel, with bicycles, bedsteads, and abstract glop on the walls - is superbly designed, as are her costumess.

Robert Hurwitt, The Express:    Ariel's horrendously cluttered apartment setting, lived-in to the point of bring trashed, and the vividly collaged walls of layered paint and bits of furniture, and bicycles - relieved only by a narrow, grimy, opaque window - is as perfect for the play's comically exaggerated mood as her costumes are for the idiosyncrasies of each character.

Nancy Scott, San Francisco Examiner:    The set is a star in Berkeley PASSIONE.

Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle:    What THE TEMPEST needs, to keep unbelief suspended, is a properly airy and fantastic production, summoning sight and sound to the aid of the poet's text. This collaboration assumed slightly miraculous proportions in Ariel Parkinson's settings and costumes, James Jewell's lighting, and the sound managed by John Swackhamer and Brooks Whitfield.

Jim Schertzer, Winston-Salem Journal:    The production's superb decor, including some utterly fantastic creatures, is the work of Ariel Parkinson ...

Bernard Weiner, San Francisco Chronicle:   This Elizabeth shocks us by her appearance, a woman out of a half-mad fairy-tale ... Ariel's set, a flower-like throne that seems to change colors with Elizabrth's moods, and her costumr (a bejeweled heavy gown, chest nearly bare) give Paton a visually compelling, higly stylized design against which the queen can spin her emotional tale.

Dina Ketchum, The Oakland Tribune:   People have always had trouble with the sexuality of the Virgin Queen - all the more so with an aging virgin. Ariel Parkinson exploits this prejudice brilliantly. She dresses Paton as a monster of Eliabethan opulence and unashamed physicality. Balding, with a hennaed fringe, her embroideries parted by an immense gleaming cleavage, Elizabeth sits. The spectacle is worth the price of a ticket.

Robert Hurwitt, the Express:   The production is simply extraordinary, with every element of stagecraft combining ... The work bursts forth with sudden vehemence with an exceptionally vivid stage picture, in which Paton's characterization is highlighted by makeup that carries hyper-reakusm to the brink of the grotesque, and by Ariel's fantastic set and costume.

Peter Selz, Lecture at the Oakland Federal Building:   What we see here is a conceptual work which has moved Art into Politics. The names of dead children are powerful signifiers in a meaningful work of art which is a memorial to tragedy and sorrow, but also a symbol of truth and hope, with the words literally pulled upward by the metal supports lodged betweemn the rafters of the atrium - the rising movement of stained glass in a cathedral,
1001 Cragmont, Berkeley, CA 94708