Sarah Cromarty in Artillery 9.26.18

Sarah Cromarty


“WISHFUL THINKIN’,” the title of Sarah Cromarty‘s show at Klowden Mann, indicates its tenor of hope against hope. Cromarty layers cardboard, digital prints, paint, glitter, rhinestones and sundry other materials to create 3D paintings affecting appearances of escapist kitsch in order to underscore the twin characteristics of adventure and futility inherent to fantasy. Through these works, Cromarty self-consciously elaborates her own imaginary world of lush green jungles and sparkles, positing painters as mythologizers and implicitly underscoring her own role as mastermind of intriguing yet impenetrable painted vignettes. Depicting a manicured hand holding brushes like magic wands before a rainforest glimmering with luminous orbs, The Painter (all works 2018) evokes the notion of an artist lost in a tropical paradise like Robinson Crusoe—perhaps a cardboard paradise of her own device. The closer you view such paintings the more blatantly their construction negates the affectation of tantalizing diversion they project across the room; the images quickly lose their illusion to seams and sidelong facets of layered cardboard evoking eroded quotidian tan cliffsides. The Magician, portraying a nude dancer, is a facade posteriorly adorned with glittery stickers and purple washes (pictured above), as though such embellishment would soften the letdown of the ligneous reverse. The Guide plays the most overt trick: this mystical verdant jungle-scape is angled suggestively away from the wall, seeming to promise an exhilaratingly arresting discovery beyond. What could the other side hold? Nothing so eye-popping as a flank of bare plywood.

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