Art on the Edge: In New Works at David Lusk Gallery, Maysey Craddock Explores the Shoreline

Mixed-media artist Maysey Craddock has long been interested in what she calls “in-between” places: “My work has always referenced borders and the in-between liminal spaces … between here and there, past and present, between us and the beyond,” she has said. “Maybe there is some eternal sense of time, history, memory that gets captured in this space. Maybe paying attention to these images in the landscape situates us in the present moment in a new way.”

 Among these places, for Craddock, is the coastline, particularly the increasingly rare stretches which remain untouched by human development. Her new body of delicate drawings, paintings, films, and installations, soon to be on view at David Lusk Gallery in “Strand,” is centered upon the sites where land meets sea, which she presents as precious places full of fragile beauty and poetic resonance.

Influenced by her time in Germany, Craddock uses the German word for beach or coast, strand, for her exhibition’s title. The word’s additional resonances are equally applicable to her work, which is characterized by tangled networks of thin, fiber-like lines that coalesce into suggestions of shorelines, reflections, rippling water, and sandy beaches. In her works on paper, these lines are formed from inky, richly colored layers of gouache, which she paints onto found brown paper grocery bags, first disassembled, then stitched together with thread into irregularly shaped squares and rectangles. Here form and content become one, as her images of the reflection of two trees in water or the rivulets left behind on the beach in the wake of receding waves give way to the patched-together pieces of paper on which they are painted, whose many seams begin to appear as mini-shorelines arrayed across the picture plane, lending it depth and texture.

“As an artist, I function as a link between this landscape around us and the possibility within it,” Craddock once wrote. At the place where the land ends and the sea begins, she sees possibilities both bleak and hopeful, concrete and symbolic—for the eventual disappearance of these wild places and their sustenance and renewal, for the primal power of water meeting land and its cyclical ebbing and flowing, mirroring that of life itself.

Karen Kedmey

Strand” is on view at David Lusk Gallery, Nashville, Nov. 11–Dec. 23, 2014; and at David Lusk Gallery, Memphis, Nov. 18–Dec. 23, 2014.

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