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international painting annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Denton Crawford
Penfield, New York

Rochester Institute of Technology, Visiting Assistant Professor

detail image


My work investigates the relationship between mysticism and the absurd, and how personal experience informs our understanding of each. Incorporating landscape, figure and abstraction, combining reality with fantasy, and the ideal with the absurd, I create personalized accounts of experience that explore the boundaries between logic and belief, the tangible and intangible. The work is fed by conflicting ideologies, presenting unnatural events that seem at once enticing and suspicious.

Ideas and visual cues are drawn from a wide range of sources. Mostly revolving around places Iíve lived or visited, these works portray moments from fictional narratives derived from various literature, art history, conflicting philosophies and personal adventures or misfortunes. Personal photos and sketches, album covers, science fiction illustrations, nature books and magazines, and paintings throughout history all inform my pictorial space. At all times, I am driven by a profound interest in the natural world and our intersection with it. Literary and philosophical influences include Albert Camus, Joseph Campbell, Agnes Martin and H.P. Lovecraft, as well as other works of literature and film.

Painting informs a large part of my visual language. My use of light, color and mark across a range of processes is derivative of the paintings that I make. I employ a range of materials, including cast resin, Mylar, expanded pvc, found objects, clay sculptures for molds, and wall vinyl among others.

My recent paintings explore the relationship between ideal experience and public space. People often turn to nature preserves and state and national parks in search of escape and ìidealî experience. These paintings are a retelling of my personal experiences within these public places, combining external elements with personal perceptions, to create an experience of space that is both bewildering and sometimes unsatisfying. Mountains, trails, bodies of water and vegetation are depicted in lush and vibrant pastels and saturated colors, and formed in abstract marks with tactile surface. Strange lights in the distance, metaphysical figures and obscure landscapes leave the viewer to build a dialogue with the work based on personal experiences, making the works collaborative in a sense, allowing them to fulfill the narrative on their own terms. These works are meant to embody the mutual relationship between the external landscape and internal experience, heightening the viewerís sense of space. My hope is to draw the viewer into this altered space where they might suspend themselves in the moment, lingering in the work, and reexamine what they typically believe to be true.





born: 1976, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri



University of South Florida, BFA, 2007
University of Georgia, MFA, 2011


selected publications

Fresh Paint Magazine, October, 2014
Studio Visit Magazine, Juror Dina Deitsch, May, 2013, Online Journal of Art and Poetry, February, 2013


selected solo or two-person exhibits

You're Not Here, Solo Exhibition, Joy Gallery, Rochester, New York, 2015
Ethereal/Material, Solo Exhibition, Carlos Gallery, The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, 2014
This is a Momentary Spectacle, Solo Exhibition, Twin Kittens Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, 2010


selected group shows

The Assembled Image, 5 person exhibition, Main Street Arts Gallery, Clifton Springs, New York, 2015
Dashing and Crashing, Hyperlink Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 2014
Wizard Business, 3 person exhibition, SOIL Gallery, Seattle, Washington, 2013



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