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Monday, September 13, 2010

Paintins & Drawings by Blue Critchfield & Erica Houston @ Art Access (SLC: Sept 17 - Oct 8)

Pause / Familiar Territory
Paintings and Drawings by Blue Critchfield & Erica Houston / Mixed Media work by Chad Crane

Salt Lake City, UT - September 10, 2010 Art Access Gallery will host husband and wife artists Blue Critchfield and Erica Houston in their exhibit title "Pause." Art Access II Gallery will present mixed media artist Chad Crane with his "Familiar Territory" exhibit, a tongue-in-cheek presentation of the Old West. Both exhibits open on Friday, September 17, from 6 to 9PM, during the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll and hang through October 8.

Critchfield and Houston share a studio and in spite of working in close proximity, have developed their own unique styles. Houston is known for her meticulously honed prisma color portraits, and Critchfield, for his surrealistic paintings, which provide commentary on the human condition, most often with humor.

Houston explains that her work begins with observing people, whether family, friends, co-workers, or herself. She says, " I think of how different personalities react to their environments, whether it is a physical, emotional, or imagined one. The tension between internal and external expectations creates patterns or habits which can mold a person without them even noticing. In some of my pieces I use pattern to show a transformation occurring from self-awareness. I feel at times that we are not aware of these patterns, because they can be so subtle or so blatant that we are unable to see them. These patterns may be helpful or harmful, but it is the moment of becoming aware that excites me."

Blue Critchfield's work often explores, what he feels to be, unjust distortions of healthy human development. He sees the course of a human life being congested by multiplying distractions which cloud attempts to grow and to lead more informed and harmonious lifestyles.

Critchfield is frustrated by the systems already in place (monetary, social, religious, etc. ) that aren't conducive to this, and that we are all expected to play along with. He says, " My work is done in a belief that things should and can change. For me, the act of painting is a way to refine my perceptions of the world and to share these explorations with others, providing an opportunity for symbiotic growth.

Artist Chad Crane explains his exhibit as, "the first oil paintings I saw at county fairs-bad landscapes, cowboys throwing lassos, lots of elk. It's the John Wayne movies I watched with my Dad and it's the cap gun I used to shoot Indians galloping by our mailbox. These are the images stamped into my memory. It seems that souvenir shot glasses from Flying J speak louder to me than the black-figured amphorae of the Greeks. It's not a question of artistic merit-it's about authenticity. This is what I know: the howling-wolf tee-shirts-the ones with a few sparkles, buy one get one free."

Crane titled his exhibit "Familiar Territory"-familiar in the sense that he's playing with clich├ęs. He says, "You know these faces. You've been here before. But if you're anything like me, it's the familiar that suddenly tastes so strange."

Crane has earned a MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Utah. His mixed media materials for this show include: encaustic, acrylic, oil and spray paint, ink, graphite, glitter, stickers, gel transfer and collage.

Gallery Hours
Monday - Friday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll is on Friday, September 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

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