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CIAP –Association For Contemporary Art, Hasselt
September 5 – October 31, 2009


While Ann Craven is, fundamentally, a painter, her work unfolds within a conceptual framework which constantly reflects on the production, reproduction and distribution of images. As a painter she consciously situates her oeuvre on the divide between the ‘aura’ of uniqueness of the iconic image, as in traditional religious imagery, and the devaluation of images in ‘the age of mechanical reproduction’ (W. Benjamin). Craven’s work incorporates the many paradoxes that are intrinsic to a world which is saturated with images to the point that these images become inseperable from reality. The grid of images through which nature is perceived is one of the main focal points of her work. Ann Craven paints traditional subjects like birds, flowers or deer, often refering to popular sources like field guides or greeting cards. These images might at one point have represented real emotions, but by reproducing them in even bolder colors on large canvases, the sweetness of the pictures is highlighted up to the point that they become perverse. By hanging various handpainted copies of one and the same painting side by side with large ‘Stripes paintings’ composed of oblique lines in the same colors, we are barred from an all too easy reading of these pictures as nothing more than appealing representations of nature. We are reminded that these paintings are – indeed – paintings, colored patterns on a flat surface, as well as cultural artifacts that mediate our perception.

Text: Peter Pollers


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