Friday, January 11, 2013

Bob Crane at Cantrell Gallery

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 5:07 PM

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Head over to Cantrell Gallery tonight to see “ELEMENTAL Copper. Zinc. Clay. Wood. Bone. Stone. Oil. Watercolor,” multimedia work by Bob Crane. The reception starts at 6 p.m.; the show runs through March 2 if you can't make it tonight.

Here's Crane's artist's statement, explaining the title of the show:

We say that nature is by design. That God has created all aspects of the heavens and the earth. From the smallest of particles to the grandest of planets, all by design.

Copper.

I look at a simple sycamore leaf. Each leaf from this tree is different but all have common structural designs and all come from the same tree. I pause and realize how one tree is a microcosm of our civilization. This inspires me to capture and record that leaf. I chose copper. A part of nature, clean, simple, stong color. My image of civilization is an acid etched set of leaves…

Zinc.

I acquire stuff. Stuff that I think might have useful surfaces upon which I might record images. I found in my possession 4 zinc pieces that could be used as metal plates for etching.

I could be thoughtful and create a portrait or a landscape or a still life. The method could be gravure, line etching, or mezzotint. All tried and true. I thought “what the heck I will just do gravure and mezzotint combined…free form. So these 4 plates are my impulses of lines across a surface. Intersecting, running from each other, colliding, running parallel to each other, thoughtless forms created on a subliminal level. Well there you go. Each piece taking hour upon hour to rock in the mezzotint form of etching. Will this work; what will it turn out like; am I wasting my time? Thoughts I often hear my inner voice saying…Once I had inked the plates I really loved what I saw. None of the plates have been printed. I like the metal quality so they are in essence designs that have yet to be realized as art. That pleases my sense of timelessness.

Clay.

Why, as an artist, I feel compelled to sculpt something that is already perfect is beyond me. But the human form has always been a source of beauty and challenge to me. I have painted, drawn and drafted the human form since I started art. I had never sculpted the human form. When I got the opportunity this year (2012) to go to a clinic to sculpt the torso I took a leap of faith and said why not… We spent 3 days in a studio crowded with chairs, tables, clay boxes, tools, conversation, instruction, demonstrations, critiques, lectures, laughter, food, coffee, successes, failures, groans and consternations. It was joyous. The two clay pieces you will see are all that I felt I needed to do to satisfy my curiosity, I may do more, later, however I am leaning towards cows.

Wood.

A flood took my studio 2 years ago. I rebuilt the studio space, new walls, new paint, new everything. It took all my supplies, paintings I’d been saving since I started painting some 30 years ago, all reference materials ruined beyond redemption, all electronics, and furniture. I saw it all in a state of destruction and laughed. What the heck was this all about? What a great opportunity to reinvent who I am as an artist. I sat wondering about the nature of it all and in doing so I noticed that the exterior of the barn was a witness. The wood was a witness. A witness to all of nature’s goings on, to the seasons, the heat, the flood, the rhythm of time. As a witness its exterior was weathered, aged, craggy, discolored. It was beautiful. Full of character, intelligence, experience. I felt compelled to use some of this wood…

Bone.

… as the base for an even more obtuse and visceral contemplation… as I strolled the pasture where I keep my horses I came upon some bones, specifically the spinal column or what was left of it, of a cow. I picked up several of the vertebrae and examined them. As I rolled them over in my hands I started to laugh. I noticed that they had little faces when held in a certain position. I had to share these as it was definitely God’s sense of humor, not to mention his handiwork.

Stone.

The river running parallel to my pasture is a taker of things and a giver of things. After the flood subsided and the river was once again a creek, I walked along the edge and noticed all the incredibly beautiful stones, large and small, deposited by the surge of water that had passed through. Colors I had never seen together, shapes that were consciousness expanding, designs which heightened my sense of purpose. These stones were powerful, meaningful and they motivated me. I found my camera and took photo after photo. Hundreds of photos. I picked multiple images and created designs from them. I painted those designs, created a floor to look like those designs, watercolors that used the stones as resists for free form color designs. And though I have some really lovely pieces from these stones, it isn’t the same. So for my peace of mind I just put some of them on the Memory Wood and called it good.

Oil.

Okay so putting a stone on some wood isn’t really painting. And since I am an artist and artists are associated with painting I have painted a painting of trees. Kind of goes with the theme don’t you think…They are called “ZenTrees”, which was derived from Sentrees, which was derived from Stand of 2 Trees. I have had the painting for a while but have not shown it to the public. I like it too much and don’t really want to sell it. Looks great in my house. I photographed them one cold morning. The sun wasn’t up yet but there was a hue of yellow in the sky. Orange touched one or two of the limbs. It was so calm. It was indeed a meditation; Zen Trees.

Watercolor.

Watercolors are my strength. Actually they are what I am most comfortable with, they are my go to medium, which could in fact be a weakness, inside the box so to speak. I love playing with them. Letting color bleed, watching for designs to take hold in a face. Wondering how to use color for more emotion, more thoughtfulness, and more tension. I love doing portraits when I don’t have to worry about what they look like. Those are my best pieces. When I am doing a commission for someone they want the image to look like who it is, reasonable request really. But when I do an image of someone for myself it doesn’t always look like the person, but boy is it powerful!

Indifference, the opposite of love.

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