Water Brighton Pier shows a body of water with bright light playing and sparkling across the surface. The image has been flipped 90 degrees so that the gentle waves wash from left to right and the light appears in a band across the middle of the frame. Voices murmur in the background, giving the sense that people are around the camera.
Across its many media, Parkes’ art often concerns itself with the formal qualities of light on different surfaces. In this work, the water undulates in a similar way to Parkes’ paintings from this period, for which she is perhaps better known. Both materials—the canvas and the ocean—rise and fall, causing paint and light to move on their surfaces.
Parkes also uses the vertical flipping technique seen in Water Brighton Pier in one of her short video works exhibited in the merrier (2017). In the merrier, she tilts a glowing sunset, filmed shakily from a beach, so that the bands of radiant light and water are seen vertically, referencing the histories of abstract painting.