ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER
APRIL 20 – MAY 19, 2007
513 WEST 20TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10011
VIDEO | EXHIBITIONS | ARTIST PAGE | PRESS
One Thing Leads to Another
April 20 – May 19, 2007
Opening Reception: Friday, April 20, 2007, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Opening on April 20, 2007, Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to present One Thing Leads to Another, an exhibition of new paintings by Charlottesville, Virginia-based artist Elizabeth Crawford. In addition to numerous gallery exhibitions, including a White Room at White Columns, New York, NY in 1993, Crawford’s work was included in group exhibitions at the Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY (2004); Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY (1997); and Art in General, New York, NY (1991), among many others. This will be Crawford’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery and will include eleven new canvases and two works on paper.
Elizabeth Crawford’s paintings, small in scale and meticulously executed, are rife with conceptual contradictions that manifest as compelling meta-narratives within a traditional still life format. They appear – and are, in a sense – conventional settings, yet a mystery lurks beneath each polished, skillfully-rendered surface. The paintings (sometimes aided by the miniaturization of recognizable objects, which, in their familiarity, are the viewer’s initial point of entry) flicker between states of accessibility and ambiguity. In fact, exploring themes of cognition and recognition is the artist’s overarching interest. Through her intuitive choice of objects, which she carefully positions to create subtle tension and dialog, Crawford leaves the viewer questioning the validity, and essentially the existence, of linear storytelling, while nonetheless demonstrating the inescapability of narrative.
In many of the works, Crawford manipulates the scale of the objects (which, on many levels, function as characters), thus altering their formal dynamic as well as the viewer’s ability to readily process them. In some ways, the paintings are akin to advertising photographs, in which objects are isolated on monochromatic backgrounds; yet Crawford often includes a horizon line. This subtle visual ploy, coupled with her ability to convert the unnoticed and innocuous, allows the paintings to transcend the realm of documentation and take on a more psychological agenda.
Weight of the World depicts a globe with a disheveled pink towel looming menacingly in the foreground. In Plenty of Nothing, an empty Mt. Olive pickle jar might have a biblical connotation, or could suggest the underlying futility of inanimate objects. Crawford’s titles sometimes allude to potential disaster or unrest. For instance, in Train Wreck I, a 2007 work on paper, brand-name mayonnaise, ketchup, and Tabasco bottles observe a lone fork lying in the foreground. In Train Wreck II, an array of silverware (one fork having landed in a similar position to that of its sister drawing), suggests impending doom or the scene of a crime. In the work that shares its title with the exhibition, many of Crawford’s characters reappear in a panoramic format, reinforcing the suggestion that while objects carry connotations, it is the combinations of objects with other objects, ideas and emotions that ultimately creates and perpetuates real – and in many cases, unsettling – context.
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