Notching her second exhibition with Casey Kaplan Gallery, artist Sarah Crowner has returned to the dealer’s Flower District space for a show of new paintings and a site-specific installation that underscores her continued interest in the language and lineage of the natural world in modern painting. Drawing on any number of figurative and abstract histories of painting the world around us, Crowner’s work is a refreshingly nuanced interpretation, one that draws similar graceful curvatures and natural forms from cut and sewn canvases.
Crowner’s work walks that ever-fine line between the distinctly process-oriented abstraction and that of outright depiction, using her assemblage-style approach towards joining painted fragments, and using them as an homage to the many weeds growing outside of her studio space, referencing the creeping reclamation of natural space from the post-industrial architecture. To the artist, weeds can be thought of as politicized, representative of a rebellious spirit refusing to give ground to attempts at eradication. Weeds are contextually invasive, yet their presence equally references another state of being, one that underlines other possibilities, other worlds, simmering just below the surface of the modern regime of life.
Crowner presents this suite of paintings staged above a curved, wooden platform, that mirrors the elemental, semi-circular shapes contained by her compositions. Fusing together form, process and perception, her stages take the same gradual curves and twists of the brush, the knife, and the sewing machine, and extend it out into physical space, both introducing a similar meandering pathway to the viewer’s experience of the works, and simultaneously drawing a connection to the weeds’ presence “below,” the idea that the ground we walk on is extended over that of natural earth. The experience of wandering through this exhibition, taking in Crowner’s work in all of its loping, gradual processes and subtle twists in form and color is a striking one, one that leaves the viewer all the more aware of the subtle hints of green grass and leaves poking out from the sidewalks, and from the various storefronts as the viewer exits the gallery.
Crowner’s work is on view through April 21st.
— D. Creahan
Sarah Crowner: Weeds [Casey Kaplan]