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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chris Crites "The Bag Painter": POW Feature

If you haven't seen Chris Crites' work before, it's time to get acquainted. I had seen his work around Seattle and was very interested in meeting him and finding out more. It seemed like everytime we'd go to one of his openings, we would just miss him - funny timing apparently on our part. We even walked into a gallery down in San Francisco on a visit and ran into his work in a group show called Dark Americana. I felt a little taunted by this accidental viewing (ha, ha, here is that artist you've been wanting to meet).

"Breaking Into Various Dwellings. Theft." by Chris Crites
12" x 10"
Acrylic on Paper Bag

When Kate Protage & Chris Sheridan were putting together the line-up for the "You're So Vain" exhibit and they confirmed that Chris was in the show, my first question was: is he going to be there for the opening? Aha! I would finally meet him. (It was very nice to meet you Chris).

For our POW (Piece of the Week) installment I selected "Breaking Into Various Dwellings. Theft". From the toussled hair, to the folds in his jacket and that look of regret on his face, the detailing of this piece gives it a 3-d appearance. The piece as I mentioned, is part of the "You're So Vain" (you probably think this art is about you) exhibit that runs through Friday, October 1st. Crites has an additional piece in the show among several other excellent Seattle artists (and 1 from SF). Please stop by before the show ends.

Artist Statement

Years ago I saw a book of black and white crime photographs from the past. I found it amazing. The characters and crime scenes looked like surreal glimpses into the history of human interaction. Much more intriguing for me were the mug shots. Portraits of people who had just been caught. Despair, frustration, anger – so many expressions could be read on the faces. Each one of these images has a story. Often times I have no idea what the real story is, but it’s hard not to make one up. One of the reasons I paint them is to bring out another possible story, for people to look at and think about. The majority of the images I base my paintings on are from the 1890’s through 1950’s.

Originally I began using charcoal and white conte´ crayon on paper bag. The way the wrinkles, folds and texture added to the piece really appealed to me. In 1999 I painted my first 4 mug shots in acrylic on paper bag with a limited palette of 5 colors each. Paper bag has been my main substrate ever since. Brightly colored acrylics have a different effect on the brown bag than on a typical white backing.

I try to bring new life to these practically discarded portraits of criminal and human history. Using an everyday, disposable item as the surface gives new life to the bag as well. It is my hope to get people thinking about the past, their present, and how we all affect both.

Bherd Studios Gallery
@ The Greenwood Collective
8537 Greenwood Ave N Suite 1
Seattle, WA 98103
Open Wed - Fri from 12-6pm

1 comment:

Chris Crites said...

Thank you! Great meeting you as well. Thanks for having me in the show!