Jason Craighead’s (b.1971) new exhibition presents a versatile group of new abstract works by the artist based in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the mixed-media works of Craighead, drawing, painting and writing are fused together seamlessly. The surprising compositions and a fragile balance between the frantic pencil marks, large areas of color and the opposites of soft washes of white paired with deep black bring tension and drama on the canvas.
Chance is also instrumental in Craighead’s artistic process. Before the blank canvas is pinned to the studio wall it is deliberately left on the studio floor to absorb dropped paint and spillage, along with other marks as he moves around his studio working on other paintings. Torn pages alongside scribbles and written passages here and there on the canvases derive from literature, music and poetry close to him.
Earlier shows by Craighead have shown a more minimalistic side of the painter, whereas these new works have a certain restless quality to them, yet they retain the familiar elements of his earlier work; the partially exposed canvas, ultramarine blue, warm reds and the opposites of black and white and a strong sense of movement, all of which tie the exhibition together.
PRECIPICE, the title of the exhibition, refers to a metaphorical cliff, either a fear-inducing or an exciting spot between here and there, on which one stands before taking a leap towards either growth or destruction. Transition and movement towards something new as well as being at the threshold is present in many of the works’ titles in the show.
Craighead’s works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and in 2018 a solo museum exhibition by him was held at the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh. The new show is the third appearance in Finland for Craighead.