New York-based artist Ann Craven paints wistful, Disneyesque images of birds and deer with a delicate, unhurried touch. She also paints the moon from life every night, and canvases striped with color or black and white. In an essay about her work, Josh Smith writes that the problem with much representational art is that it is too sure of itself, but Craven doesn’t fall into that trap. “What gives a subject so much importance that it warrants an artistic rendering?” Smith asks. “Often representational painters completely misunderstand the whole idea of art. They think art is about doing things competently with just a touch of panache. That is indeed one kind of art, but not a very interesting kind. Great representational art looks right through its subject. The subject serves as a vehicle for an expression or idea, not a crutch or publicity gimmick. Ann Craven’s work does not go around to openings with a limp and a cigarette between its lips. Playing games is not an option in her paintings. These paintings just come in and get the job done….Ann seems in a way, unsatisfied with everything she does. That’s why she keeps working away constantly. The birds and the moons are both simple ideas. Is not the challenge to make something as simple and successful as possible? When it comes to painting, it is best to sneak all of the meaning in through the back door. Ann does not burden the viewer with issues or problems. The issues and problems are there, only they are disguised as the moon, a deer, a bird. “
Ann Craven will talk about her paintings on Thursday, March 20, 6:30 pm. The Center for Advanced Visual Studies MIT, Cambridge, MA.