"…I think in my work it hovers in a place where it’s humorous and possibly something else too. “ 2009
Chris Cran is a senior Canadian artist who lives and works in Calgary, Alberta.
For the last four decades he has experimented with traditional genres of painting including still life, portraiture, and abstraction, to which he adds his own particular twist. He challenges our usual experience of these genres, by creating tensions between the variety of discordant styles he samples and mixes including but not limited to Pop Art, Photo-realism, Modernist Abstraction and Op Art. Cran further complicates things by juxtaposing his borrowings from art history with the popular imagery of cartoons, advertising and reproductions from 1950s and 1960s pulp magazines.
Cran continues to challenge viewers with his recent ink drawings. At first sight the works can be read as old retouched photographic prints or photograms, but upon closer inspection we start to notice characteristics of the black ink, how it was applied in layers and textured through the use of various materials. Hovering between representation and abstraction the drawings are at once gestural and objective, depictions of things and abstract experiments. According to the artist: “if something appears to be “photographic,” it is. In other words, “photographic” is a code for reading work (as is “realist”, “abstract,” etc,) and the “photographic,” even an accidental illusion, possesses many of the attributes of photography. I worked with these ideas using materials of a smaller scale and found that the delicacy of this appearance of the “photographic” was much enhanced by an intimate viewing.”
Chris Cran has continued to have an active presence in Canada and specifically in Alberta where he has influenced a generation of artists studying at the Alberta College of Art and Design.