Kayne Griffin is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by artist Sarah Crowner, titled, “Landscape.” This exhibition will mark Crowner’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, California.
Crowner’s new works comprise a suite of large-scale geometric paintings installed edge to edge, traversing a corner of the Main Gallery and clustering in pairs or triptychs elsewhere. Each is sewn out of raw canvas and canvas painted in indigo and violet, and fitted together into related patterns. The compositions derive from the warp and weft of a vintage Swedish tapestry. The shapes Crowner generated from this undergirding lattice rather abstractly summon the natural world in their evocations of the flickering contingency of light as seen through a cypress grove or the undulating dance of kelp. And indeed, the palette and near atmospheric ambience of the group was inspired by her childhood memories of the hills of Ojai and the beaches of Los Angeles.
Extending work that she has developed over the last decade, these panels trace the building’s architecture, effecting a kind of second skin that recalls other kinds of wall painting (a fresco or mural). And yet, Crowner preserves the tensile canvas as a self-contained thing that redoubles the walls without becoming them. Instead, she foregrounds hand-fashioned materiality, especially in the seams where it is clear that colors are textiles meeting as visual and physical boundaries. Stretched taut, the surfaces are punctured by minute spaces where they pull apart, literalizing the play of recession into pictorial space more typically associated with illusionism.
These are paintings meant to be seen up close, intimately, just as much as from an appreciable distance. They create an environment, encouraging a choreography of movement and response. Like “Op” artists, including Bridget Riley or Victor Vasarely, Crowner exploits perceptual ambiguation in the parallactic reversal of figure and ground that characterizes the alternating segments, as forms seem to swell or move despite being perfectly still. Like other landscapes, they mark a contiguous and radical openness to circumstance.
Crowner’s South Gallery installation likewise if differently poses painting as a support for other activity, further incorporating the movement of viewers into the experience of walking atop a blue terracotta floor—a horizontal painting of tesserae assembled, part-by-part out of tiles she designed to fit into a repeating, mirrored configuration. The "Stretched Pentagon" form is similar to what Crowner presented at MASS MoCA in 2017, but these are longer and skinnier. Like Crowner’s past uses, too, these tiles bear material irregularities—of color, sheen, and edge—resulting from their having been individually glazed and fired. One passes over the makeshift stage that they construct to access another painting, hanging on the wall. Golden and luminescent, Sun, instantiates a near heliotropic pull from across the marine expanse.
- Text by Suzanne Hudson
Sarah Crowner lives and works in New York. Forthcoming exhibitions and projects include The Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico, Fall 2021 and a large-scale commission for the US Embassy of Honduras in 2022. Recent projects include participation in the 57th edition of the Carnegie International (2018); scenography and costume design for Jessica Lang’s “Garden Blue” with the American Ballet Theater (2018); as well as the permanent site-specific installation at the Wright Restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum (2017.) In 2013 Crowner participated in a major survey exhibition on abstract painting at the Walker Art Center in MN and was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial curated by Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari. Her work is held in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA amongst others.