John Crawford Exhibit – The Expressive Language of Forged Steel
The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens is pleased to present an exhibit featuring works by American Artist John Crawford. The exhibit features large and small scale works of forged and machined steel on exhibit in the park. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, April 17, 2021 from 4PM to 6PM.
Crawford, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, learned to craft steel in an ancient blacksmith shop in the Tuscany region of Italy. During his seven year apprenticeship he learned the complex procedures of forging farm tools from steel, and he used the process to make sculpture. In 1977, Crawford received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant. In 2006 Crawford taught in an artist in residency program in the Niger Delta. His most recent exhibitions include Lori Bookstein, John Davis, and the LongHouse Reserve. His work is in numerous public and private collections.
“My sculpture has changed over the years—and it hasn’t. Early on, I wanted to reproduce the structural beauty of those functional Italian shovels, hoes, and axes. Hopefully, this sense of structure exists in the recent Bifurcations and Accretions, but in a different way: Deceptively simple sculptural shapes, slightly varied, repeated, can yield surprisingly complex results that resemble fractal geometry. My earlier work explored the structure of single, simple objects. Now the process is more like a gardener hybridizing a new plant, or a weaver producing a fabric with no beginning or end.”
The exhibit represents four bodies of the artist’s work: Tools, Bifurcations, Pinecones, and Accretions. Crawford explains “Each sculpture is unique – hammered into shape, often with large industrial machines that can pick up, heat, and hammer metal forms of almost any weight. The forging process – my language – is inseparable from my expression.”
The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens is pleased to show this selection of Crawford’s sculptures, fully realized at their current scale, but which are being developed for larger commissioned work. An ongoing video captures the forging process in his studio and on a larger scale. As he describes it, “In forty-five years of exhibitions, this is the first time that I have included a video glimpse of forging. In the past I felt the dramatic fire and noise of the process would be a distraction from looking at the sculpture…All tools leave their marks and change how we think and even what we say. So perhaps what was a distraction from looking at a sculpture has now become almost necessary, a way to better understand it.”
Crawford’s sculptures are on display through April 30, 2021. Private showings are available by appointment between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. To schedule an appointment email email@example.com
The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens
1 Green Hill Road
Washington, CT 06794