Artist: Ann Craven
Venue: Maccarone, New York
Exhibition Title: Flowers
Date: May 1 – June 26, 2010
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Maccarone, New York
When we see Craven’s paintings…we are picturing the repetition of language, vision and painting. As a form reoccurs, it becomes more and more like a word — more like a symbol and a signal. *
In ?previous? work, ?Craven? has ?explored ?symbolic? images ?such ?as ?birds, ?deer, ?and? the? moon, ?pulled? from thousands? of? her ?collected ?print? outs,? images ?she? scanned ?and ?printed ?from ?nature ?books ?and ?magazines or? gathered? from ?the ?internet.?? In? her? first? solo? exhibition ?at? Maccarone? Gallery, ?the ?artist? undertakes ?a? new?subject, ?still?life? arrangements? of ?white? roses, ?painted? from ?life. ?Painting ?with ?bravura? improvisational?intensity, ?and ?using? primarily? a ?palette? of? black ?and ?white,? Craven ?reanimates ?the? anachronistic? genre ?of? still?life? flower?painting.
Craven ?began? painting? flowers ?from? observation? several? years ?ago ?when, ?following? the ?death ?of? a? loved? one, ?she? made? paintings ?of? the? roses ?taken? home ?from ?the ?funeral ?as ?gifts ?for ?her ?family.?? From ?the ?start,? she? approached ?the? subject? with? a? deep ?intuitive? connection? to ?both ?the? historical ?and ?popular? symbolism? of ?the? rose.? The? paintings ?in ?this ?exhibition ?build ?on ?this ?symbolism, ?immersing ?us ?in ?a ?dramatic ?black?and?white? world ?of fluid? scale,? where? rose? petals? become ?spiraling,? almost? galactic? form,? slashes ?of ?black? paint,? depicting? rose? leaves, ?become ?swift?moving ?vectors,? and? dashes ?of? white,? used ?to ?represent? baby’s? breath,? suggest? clusters? of ?stars.
The ?exhibition? is? organized ?around? three ?groups ?of? paintings, ?each ?installed ?in ?a ?separate? part? of? the? gallery.? The? first ?room ?contains? a ?series ?of? nine ?paintings ?of? bouquets ?of? white? roses ?in ?glass ?or ?crystal? vases ?situated ?on? a ?simple ?studio? stool, ?all ?painted? from ?observation.? For? the? backgrounds,? Craven ?uses? flower? motifs ?redeployed? from ?her? previous ?paintings,? making ?these? new? paintings, ?in? effect, ?flowers? on? flowers.
In ?the? second ?room? are ?“copies” ?of? the ?paintings ?in ?the ?first? room. ?The? copies ?are? mirror? images ?of ?the? “original” ?paintings,? flipped ?left? to? right? along ?their ?vertical ?axes.? The ?copies ?are ?installed ?in? clockwise? rotation, ?also ?mirroring ?the? counter?clockwise ?rotation? of ?the ?paintings ?in ?the ?first ?room.
Around? the? street?facing ?perimeter? wall? of ?the ?gallery,? Craven? has ?installed? her? “stripe ?paintings” ?– ?that? she? makes ?using? the ?paint? left? over? on ?her ?palette ?after? completing ?each ?painting.? Craven? considers ?these? stripe? paintings? to ?be ?“born”? from ?the ?flower? paintings ?and? refers ?to ?them ?as ?a ?third? set ?of ?flowers.
Craven’s? paintings? ??? the ?originals,? mirrored? copies,? and ?stripes ??? ?raise? complex? questions.? What ?exactly? occurs? when? Craven ?makes? a? mirrored? copy,? stroke ?for ?stroke, ?of ?an? original, ?painted ?alla ?prima ?from? a? three?dimensional ?motif?? The ?spontaneous, ?focused? gesture ?is? repeated? and ?thus ?reified, ?an ?image ?of? an? object? becomes ?a? mirror? image ?of ?an ?image.?? The ?improvisational? brush stroke, ?usually? considered? a? recording ?of ?a ?unique? movement? of ?a ?body? in ?time,? is? re?performed,? becoming? choreographed.?? With? the? stripe ?paintings, ?representation ?and? execution? are ?still ?further ?reified.? Left?over? paint,? applied? in ?parallel? brush? strokes,? becomes? another? sign ?for? a ?bouquet? of ?flowers.
With? Craven’s ?acute ?departure ?from ?her? previous ?iconography, ?she ?takes ?on ?a ?new ?language? to? communicate? the? deep? psychological ?rigor ?it? takes ?to? re?paint? paintings,? brush ?stroke ?for? brush stroke,? color? by ?color,? line? by ?line. ?As? Craven? stated? in ?2006,?“?I? often ?take ?the? memory? of ?the ?last? painting ?and? bring ?it ?into ?the ?next ?painting.? The ?new ?painting? becomes? the? memory ?of ?the? moment ?just ?past.”
* Bianca ?Beck? and ?Josh ?Brand, ?On ?Ann ?Craven,? or? Painting ?Again:? Memory,? Mirror,? Moon,? March, ?2008.
Link: Ann Craven at Maccarone