Root and Sky, 2016
gouache & thread on found paper, 54.75 x 38.5 inches
ModernDallas.net repost of my article
A forest has grown up on the walls of Cris Worley Fine Arts with the works by Maysey Craddock. Framed works on paper depicting trees populate the gallery, but this is much more that just a show depicting nature.
To me, Maysey Craddock’s work is partly about recycling in a meaningful way. Craddock reuses found material and makes that material last though pulling out the acid. This detour away from the landfill and into art still reflects ideas of the usual fate of her material. Her paper might have mulched trees or ended up floating down rivers into lakes and oceans. Now her recycled material is acting as representational art. What I find interesting in this body of work is that she has removed images of decayed buildings being reclaimed by nature. Many images of her past work played with this idea of returning things to the earth in a more literal approach. Now she uses the material to illustrate her ideas more metaphorically. Maybe it is because I am aware of her past work, but I see Craddock working with a similar theme of recycling, renewal, and the life affirming natural world.
Some of her forest scenes show a reflection in the water, but by displaying the work on its side, I was reminded of computer generated reflection tools. The forest and reflection become a symmetrical silhouette object. It took me a moment to put together that she was showing a landscape displayed on its side. Other images use the paper as a source for her tree silhouettes with bushes and tree limbs painted in the background. I enjoy how she sometime fades her paint to a lighter shade across her composition or just in her trees. The detail of lines are quite attractive and keep my eyes wandering around her pieces. Each work seems to be too delicate and elegant to be on such throw away material.
Another powerful aspect of her work is the sewing of papers together to create her “canvas.” The materials she collects have to be connected together in some way to make her work have some scale. It would seem that sewing would be a good solution practically, but the stitches also work visually. One could even see this similar to movie portrayals of Dr. Frankenstein's monster. Craddock is sewing together an already devastated landscape caused by climate change and land mismanagement. But like Dr. Frankenstein, she breathes life into her work.
June 18th is the final day for this beautiful exhibition of works on paper, but Cris Worley Fine Arts will likely feature more shows by Maysey Craddock in the future. I mean, how could they not feature her again after a compelling, thought provoking show like this one.