Vague Recollections of Specific Places: Louise Crandell
with a micro-interview by Elaine Sexton
Elaine Sexton: One immediate aspect of your work is the insistent climate, somewhere between cloudy and tense, the subjects being not quite discernible. The composition of these paintings, landscapes and other ‘scapes, on the edge-of-clarity, ask the viewer to focus more intently, or to let go, the way one might read a challenging poem. Would you say a few words about this focus, about painting subjects to be not quite discernible?
Louise Crandell: Memory is a tricky thing. That said, I rely on mine a great deal. Simon Schama observes in his book, Landscape and Memory, “I think the most intensely felt landscapes are the ones we walk through as a child. The dreamlike version is a place of effortless, bucolic sweetness. The nightmare version is a slightly scary, sinister, dense place.”
I was born in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, moved to the Montana/Canadian border, on to upstate New York, to the Atlantic coast, to the glorious shores of Lake Michigan, driving through the mountains in northern Italy in winter with that particular light coming through the mists rising from the damp earth, in New Zealand seeing the Milky Way more clearly than I ever had before, in Iceland and Maine seeing the Aurora Borealis like a cathedral in the sky – wondrous and fleeting, (like my time here, on earth, too), these vague recollections of specific places, with their particular resonances, sounds, light and smells.
When I travel I visit graveyards, I think they tell a lot about a place and grave stones tell stories about a person and family. My memories, dreams and subconscious have served me well. Reining them into paintings, places of contemplation – fragile, sublime, ambiguous, other worldly abstractions are made by layers of oil paint and wax; worlds from memory, melding and moving into each other.
Louse Crandell’s work was part of a recent group exhibition at the VSOP Projects in Greenport, New York, (Oct, 2019), where she was the featured artist in a solo exhibition in late 2018. She is also represented by Cheryl Hazan in New York, where her work will be part of a group exhibition opening Nov. 1, 2019. Her work has been show by bllaq in Philadelphia, and Studio 11, East Hampton, NY. Crandell attended Moore College of Art, School of Visual Arts, the Art Students League and the National Academy of Art and Design. http://www.vsopprojects.com/