Archway Gallery presents Constructing the Dance, featuring the paintings and prints of Kevin Cromwell, who will be on hand to visit with guests during the exhibition’s opening reception on Saturday, March 5 at the gallery. He will also hold an artist’s talk at 6:30 p.m.
If you were a fan of Joel Anderson’s ability to bring his work to life, than you’ll be impressed with Cromwell’s ability to bring life to the human form. This captivating look at the body’s ability to speak volumes is compelling, introspective and beautifully done.
Cromwell’s collection of new works titled, Constructing the Dance, is about how the physical body, by directly expressing emotion and intent, can bridge the gaps in language. This work creates a narrative through figurative forms and has evolved from his previous Motorhead series, as well as his experiences traveling abroad.
Cromwell creates a sense of transparency in his painted works and encourages the viewer to note the various layers while observing how these layers were built up. Often, he lets the paint flow over the image creating paths and openings for the viewer to explore throughout the work. His large woodblock prints often include the wood grain of the block in the print.
As a painter, Cromwell communicates through the imagery on the canvas. In many ways this feels like he is choreographing a set of dancers who must bend and leap and twist to express the meaning of the piece. In this show, Cromwell is opening up the conversation in regard to this development of expression through visual language, specifically the language of the body-form.
The paintings in this series illustrate Cromwell’s conversations about our efforts to be plainly understood in a modern world where words have many meanings and implications while at the same time one’s subconscious self may be, through body language, sending out messages that are in contradiction to our words. The kind of conversations that lend themselves to this physical language are not only limited by the physical form, but by the viewer’s interpretation. In the end the body is the link, the wire, the binding and page upon which the dance is written.
In most of Cromwell’s work, the layers of his interpretation are enhanced by the layers of narrative which he uses to build the composition. The work that is produced is not black text on a white page. It informs and questions the viewer, but does not constrain the viewer’s personal narrative.
Born near a chemical plant in south Texas, Cromwell grew up in a small town surrounded by nature. The idea that “art tells a story,” has been the basis of Cromwell’s artistic philosophy since the beginning. Having grown up in a house full of avid readers, his first exposure to art was the book covers laying on tables and chairs. Though the books held little interest, the stories on the covers were dramatic and intense. Artists like Frank Frazetta inspired his early work, and several comic book illustrators through high school. In college; however, he discovered the Surrealists, like Magritte, and found their expression of the subconscious into reality to be a good fit for what he was trying to say with his work.
Cromwell’s art education includes study at Brazosport Community College and the Glassell School of Art in Houston. More recently, he has been working on his BFA at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Through UHCL he has been able to study abroad, including studying serigraphy at the University of West Bohemia in Plzen, Czech Republic.
Cromwell has been involved in the art community of Houston for several years. For the last five years he has been an active participant in the Houston “Art Crawl” as a studio member at Mother Dog studios. He has worked for the last three years with PrintMatters assisting with the annual “Rockin’ Rollin’ Prints,” a steamroller print event.