Karma is pleased to present Animals Birds Flowers Moons, a solo exhibition of recent paintings and watercolors by Ann Craven. Craven’s new subjects, including bear cubs, peacocks, woodpeckers, and horses, are a foray into childhood imagery and nostalgia—a provocative new Romanticism. Craven’s canvases reveal bold brushstrokes; their expressive painterly treatment signals the vitality and bravura of a new chapter in the artist’s oeuvre.
The exhibition is populated by an assorted cast of characters, animals, birds, flowers, and moons are repeated in varied scale and media throughout Karma’s three spaces. In moving from one space to the next, the viewer enters into the artist’s process of revisitation. Craven refers to her repetitions not as series—the term is too clinical—but as revisitations, expressing her tender desire to capture images again, and again, and again.
In each painting the artist superimposes source photographs, her own paintings, and historical works, creating mediated images that feature layers upon layers of referentiality: a collage of the artist’s most treasured curios. The motif in Big Moon (After Pink Full Moon over Quiet Water), 2021, 2021, is recorded and replicated with romantic diaristic affection. Portrait of Two Cardinals (after Picabia), 2021, 2021 indicates Craven’s admiration of an artist who gave her license to self-express, while its cardinals were inspired by the bird’s associations with hope and faith. In Roses (on Blue with Orchids, after Buffet), 2021, 2021, Craven paints the foreground en plein air and refers to her archive of printed images for the background––she becomes both master and copyist.
The exhibition is accompanied by a monograph that mimics the tripartite structure of the show. The book is divided into three parts by installation grouping, each paired with one of three texts: two newly commissioned essays by Durga Chew-Bose and Keith Mayerson, and a 2021 interview between Ann Craven and Lois Dodd.