New York Sting, 1993
mixed media on canvas board - 1o x 8 inches
visually dimensional ...
he became an artist, Jim had a long and successful career as an interior
designer, and it wasn't until he retired that his imagination turned
full-time toward making art.
Eye Sea, 1993 - collage,
acrylic on canvas,
16 x 12 inches
lift off the page ...
four wood heads Jim carved in 1948, when he was 16, all 234 (!) pieces
in the crowded but fascinating show were created since 1989. The
main gallery on MacArthur Boulevard is gill filled with too many
variations of what are often too-similar pieces.
unidentified, #179 not on the price list
toying with dimension ...
neither the exhibition nor this story's metaphoric progression is
strictly chronological, we follow the artist's exploration from essentially
two-dimensional, flat paintings and collages, through many minor
branches of a third D and finally out into the sky full of fully
three-dimensional flying Crowe mobiles that made his art so immensely
popular by the end of his life.
Arcs & Yellow, 1993 - collage,
acrylic on board
14 x 12 inches
intensifying colors ...
at first, elements project forward from their muted but densely textured
backgrounds. The colors intensify, then both colors and shapes simplify,
begin to lift off the page and grow more boldly dimensional.
untitled - 1991 - wood, paper
21 x 18 inches
on their own ...
the fully three-dimensional pieces stand up on their own, smooth
and unify, grow more lyrical and turn toward brighter, simpler colors.
They stand higher, begin to lift up and eventually fly away.
Silver Flight, 2004 - stainless steel
18 x 22 x 6 inches (reflecting portions of the gallery)
lift off the ground ...
James Crowe's mature work, the smooth, shiny, elegantly simple stabiles
and mobiles — usually comprising flat, polychromed wood or
fabricated metal — that carried the well liked artist to the
peak of his career are so densely hung in this show, it's difficult
to see any one of them.
may be Summer Storm,
painted wood, aluminum rod
180 x 40 inches unassembled
ascend toward heaven ...
could have been an elegant orchard of high flying sylphs among cubic
yards of restful negative space, is instead a dense jungle of confusing
elements gyring and swinging slowly in artificial interior breezes,
a cacophony of colors and shapes.
may be Angel Wings, 2004
57 x 55 inches
sprout angel wings ...
work occupying Jim's imagination in the days and weeks just before
his death were large-scale, iridescently colored, gossamer sails
(below) floating in the space under the barrel vault of the big Irving
Arts Center gallery.
untitled, 2004 - fabric, aluminum rod, 15 x 20 feet
and sail away.
of the visitors who came through while I was photographing said it
was their favorite piece, although I've always preferred the gentle
curves and dance of the more sophisticated shapes in his mobiles.
If he had lived, he probably would have made many minor but important
changes in the sails.
of the pieces are for sale, which may be why there are so many here.
For inquiries, call the Irving Arts Center at 972 252-7558