Chris Cran in Canadian Art Magazine

Canadian Art, Fall 2003
Essentials: Chris Cran: The Physics of Admiration
by Nancy Tousley
Chris Cran is one of those artists whose body of work, if you were not familiar with it, might look like it was created by a few different people. The painter switches styles to suit his needs. He thinks of the studio as a place to conduct R & D, works fast, with a tendency to work in series, and is a prolific painter. He has the hubris to be funny and to pursue beauty seriously, at the same time. The kick for him is in the idea. This, whatever it is, he knocks around, tries on, repeats, varies, changes and might after a while drop, only, perhaps, to pick it up again later on. Some of his brainstorms develop into full-blown series, others bring on intermittent showers, some produce thunderous, lightning speed one offs. Cran likes theatre: he dramatizes ideas, plays them out in as many ways as he can think of and always seems to have a backlog of things he wants to do. An inspired post-Pop painter, Cran has learned his licks (and stolen some)from Warhol, Lichtenstein and Richter. My Chris Cran - I say my because so much depends on who is doing the looking - is an artist whose greatest affinity is for Pop. He is irresistibly attracted to popular culture and kitsch, uses photography and its processes as a source and makes smart, intellectually fizzy paintings that play dumb. He sees the face of desire in the graphics on packages of ‘50s toys. And he can say, with a straight face and without weighting one more heavily than the other, that the two artists in the background of his “Self Portrait Paintings” are Caravaggio and Norman Rockwell.

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