Aspirational Quote: “That is what it means to be an artist – to seize this essence brooding everywhere in everything, just behind aspect.”
Frank Lloyd Wright
Carey Crane grew up near Tampa Bay during one of his father’s most prolific periods as a collagist/painter, cartoonist, and professor of art. By inhabiting the home studio, Carey observed the versatility of acrylic paints and mediums, and witnessed an improvisational approach to art – painting as a “conversation” with emerging forms.
Carey’s early interest in cartooning and illustration led to drawing, writing, and production for student newspapers. Intending to pursue journalism at the University of Florida, he was soon immersed in studio programs. Carey studied with Hiram Williams, master of painterly figurative-abstraction. William’s painting-as-performance encouraged an approach driven by a personal visual “vocabulary” of forms.
After earning his BFA in 1982, Carey worked for a start-up exhibits company and at the Florida Museum of Natural History, learning to craft exhibits – creating naturalistic dioramas, scale models, and environments. Applying art and design to exhibit fabrication became his career.Place is essential to Carey’s expressive art as revealed by painting/collages created in Florida, North Carolina, Washington, DC, and southern New Mexico. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, 2010, he began painting and collaging with a renewed commitment, compelled by the magnificent High Desert and a community of artists. Today, Carey is Curator of Exhibits at a popular southern Maryland museum. Painting in Shady Side, neighboring the Chesapeake, resonates with his artistic roots along Tampa Bay.
I often begin my work with loosely drawn arabesque figures in flowing acrylic paint or charcoal drawing over washes of color. I initially work spontaneously. Shapes become characters – actors interacting in painterly, atmospheric fields. Collage, impasto paint and mediums, drawing, spray paint and washes of color integrate and delineate forms. I prefer to begin work outdoors and often spend days working outside when weather permits. Outside, I initiate gestural work freely, and awareness of the day and season influences the picture.
I look to art for a direct experience. I revel in the drag, the smear, the splash and flow of liquid color, in the physicality of collage. Materials assert themselves and interact with one another, as if in conversation. This conversation directs the next step in the process. A completed work may suggest an approach to subsequent painting/collages. A successive work is likely to be an assertive counter-point to the previous piece, rather than a close variation in a series. At times I will use a small “passage” of a previous work as a starting point for a new painting/collage. The painting process inevitably leads the former fragment in a new direction.
My abstract artwork is rarely intended to convey a message, but often evokes surprisingly specific narrative responses from viewers. I am sometimes startled to discover unintended figurative, pictographic imagery in my work that absolutely relates to my museum work projects or things encountered in day-to-day life. I believe that artistic abstraction can serve a function similar to dreaming, reconciling otherwise unrelated observations.
Juvenalia: Artist Circa 1965