November 2, 2007 · 1 Comments
You don’t have to be a quilt fan to fall for Nancy Crow’s quilts at Snyderman. The quilts are abstract paintings in fabric. Some of them depict a battle between figure ground and between colors. Some of them seem to be about making marks, even though the marks are choices of fabric rather than painterly actions.
All of them are cognizant of the art historical conversations going on since the advent Constructivism, Bauhaus and Minimalism. I am reminded of Precisionist work from Charles Demuth or the photographs of skyscrapers and girders from Modernist photographer Sherril Schell. I find this of especial interest, since of these art impulses had to do with the industrial revolution and the perfection of the manufactured object. Yet Crow, whose work does have a stunning degree of perfectionism in it, also handcrafts her work and undermines the grid at the same time that she salutes it.
I especially like the grisaille work and work that has softer edges and a lighter and more intimate touch–including the cartoony skyscrapers and their drawing-like markings.
Underneath this work is another grid besides that of Minimalism–grid of the quilting tradition and the grid of warp and woof. Those grids provide a natural overlay that often, in this work, becomes alternately an echo or else a counterpoint to the imagery. The quilts are fraught with tensions that are visual and formal parts of the process.
I am always aware, in Crow’s work, of a sense of human beings as they relate to the work–as inhabitants of buildings, builders of buildings, movers of objects in the world, and makers of marks. The suggested people alternately are dwarfed in the imagery or made heroic by their ability to draw and to build. I am also conscious as I look at the quilts of the scale–many of the works feel enormous, others more intimate.