Carey Crane grew up underfoot in his artist-professor father’s studio on Pinellas Point in St. Petersburg, Florida. [Jim Crane] Carey earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting at the University of Florida, Gainesville where he studied painting with renowned figurative expressionist Hiram Williams.
After graduating in 1982, he became an exhibits fabricator and project manager for museums and a zoo—sculpting, mold-making, and painting to create realistic models, dioramas, and environments. Carey has lived, worked, and painted in Florida, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., New Mexico.
Carey now literally lives on the Shady Side in Shady Side, Maryland with his wife Heather, pups Carly and Cody, and cat Eutaw.
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.