Chad Crane teaches drawing and painting at Copper Hills High. He received a BFA from Utah State and an MFA from the University of Utah. He has participated in numerous local juried and group exhibitions including The 9 Muses, an interdisciplinary show involving the collaboration of nine poets and nine artists. He curated and participated in the 24 Hour Show at Kayo Gallery. He was invited to participate in the 300 Plates Fund Raiser at Art Access. Five of his pieces were accepted in Fontbonne University’s Small Works Exhibition in St. Louis. A large piece was accepted in Twisted Spurs, a national competition of artworks that put a twist on traditional Western paining, and he participated in the Sketch Book Project that traveled to various locations throughout the country. More recently, he exhibited a body of work, Familiar Territory, at Art Access, collaborated with Zane Lancaster on We’ll Need to See Some Credentials at Kayo Gallery, and participated in E Pluribus Unum exhibited at U of U.
These works are about me—not a surprise. To most artists I know, everything usually is. Though clearly not self-portraits, these mixed media drawings are portraits of my mental scape—indirect and intuitive representations of my inner psyche.
I chopped up and repurposed old drawings, prints, paintings, outdated instruction manuals, paper dolls and various other collage materials. Since the works are narrative based, I found cut-outs allowed for more diverse plot options. Painting the images seemed to fix the characters too permanently to one linear path. The layered collage approach implies some immediacy and fluidity to the story—
like the ending can be altered by simply shifting the pieces, which I did many times.
I borrowed popular archetypes from a variety of myths, fables and legends. Most of these characters, like the werewolf, are so ubiquitous and clichéd they have no origin, like stray dogs wandering a vague but familiar city. They are, therefore, easily appropriated and made my own.
The re-mixing of these characters results in a fable-like narrative that instantly strikes close to home—a story you have read before; however, the narratives found in these new works derive from subconscious impulses and attractions. The story lines are too personal and absurd to be familiar. This conceptual contradiction creates a sense of discord or wonderment within the viewer, encouraging closer more reflective interpretation of the images.
This might seem like a ploy, a cheap artistic trick to suck you in and dump all my struggles and fears in your face. But that’s what these paintings are really about: coping with rejection, addressing feelings of stagnation, trying to negotiate the demands of being a father, a husband, an artist, a teacher.
And I don’t think it is a trick. This is just what I do with struggles and fears. If I sneak my subconscious thoughts out the backdoor and disguise them with a little sarcasm and humor, they don’t seem to bother anybody—even myself.
The show is titled “Looking in the Last Place I Always Look” because that is how I find and re-find myself, through a hide-and-seek game of introspection—
discovery and denial, acceptance and excuses. Everything I find can only be found by looking where I usually find nothing.
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