“Beautifully Subtle Things”- The Art and Process of Jason Craighead

posted by – 02/11/15 @ 3:14pm

To some viewers, abstraction can seem impersonal or distant. The lack of objectivity in the work can sometimes establish a disconnect with the human experience. However, in the work of Jason Craighead, the connection to a personal condition is the focus. In these large-scale abstractions, the artist’s process is evident. The expressive gestures of line suggest a concern for an emotive exchange between the piece and the viewer that is entirely human. Without erasure, without correction, these works are a direct register of each of Craighead’s physical expressions of thought. The work is raw and honest. Muted tones are accentuated by strokes of vibrant color. Repetitive marks break up, join together, and mingle with other aspects of the work as though the chain of dialogue between artist and viewer is pictorially

Jason Craighead

represented in the piece itself. Craighead admits, “[his] work requires a lot from the viewer.” The depth of these pieces lies within each successive layer of applied material, each partially revealing the thoughts that were expressed before it. In a video discussing his work and process, the artist makes it clear that there is more to each of his works than what simply fills the picture plane. During February’s art crawl, Jason was with his viewers in the gallery. Knowing the intent of these works, it was an almost surreal moment seeing viewers have personal discussions with these works while the author stood but a few feet away. Though, the beauty of the exchange was that the artist need not intervene because the pieces carried out his end of the dialogue. These pieces require a mutual investment of time and energy from each member of the exchange, much like any worthwhile conversation between two people. Craighead explains, “My work requires my own patience and understanding, and in turn, it calls the audience to slow down and realize that the work is not something you see in front of you, but something much richer.”


To see the video mentioned in the article, follow this link:  http://vimeo.com/103644630

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