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The Space it Takes, 2011

Chris Cran
Canadian, 1949
ink and acrylic on foamcore
30.5 x 25.1 x 1 cm
Purchased 2012
National Gallery of Canada (no. 45523)

Chris Cran's influential career has for years gauged the autonomy of painting in relation to image-reproduction technologies, such as printmaking and, in the case of these recent works, photography. Using mechanical techniques he developed to apply textured layers of paint to his works' surfaces, Cran's works on foam core examine the status of what it means to call something "photographic." "If something appears to be photographic, it is," reasons the artist. "In other words, 'photographic' is a code for reading work (as is 'realist,' 'abstract,' etc)." The intimately scaled pieces here test Cran's hypothesis as inks and acrylic paint resonate like some kind of surrealist accident involving the dyes and chemicals of analog photography.



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