Sunday, March 02, 2014

Craig Kraft at VisArts

Craig Kraft, owner and founder of Craig Kraft Studio in Washington, DC, will unveil his new series of work Markings: Graffiti from the Ground Zero Blues Club, at an exhibition at the VisArts Center in Rockville, Maryland from March 5 - April 20, 2014.

“The exhibition marks the culmination of over a year's work exploring a new subject matter in a new style,” says Craig Kraft, internationally known light sculptor. “The inspiration for my work is based on the excitement of discovering the unknown, or unrecognized; such as the power of the graffiti at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi.”

Curated by Claudia Rousseau, PhD, Professor of Art History, School of Art + Design at Montgomery College, Markings: Graffiti from the Ground Zero Blues Club, uses found graffiti and neon light to create an artistic expression that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Traveling last year to see the Ground Zero Blues Club firsthand, Kraft took thousands of photos of the graffiti covered walls, furnishings, ceilings and windows. From these he selected certain images—for him, “the most poignant”—and had them digitally printed on 3’ x 2’ matte enhanced paper and later mounted on wood. The artist has attached painted and scratched neon tubing to their surfaces, as he has said, "to highlight, deconstruct and reinvent the original images.”

Rousseau states, “The graffiti that Craig Kraft found at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is heroic in its extent, density, and history. Layer upon layer of it covers every inch of its interior. It depicts a full range of human emotion in words, signs, signatures, and graphic renderings of figures and animals accomplished over decades of repetitive marking.”

“Kraft’s neon additions to photographed sections of the graffiti at Ground Zero give prominence to certain of these marks. A deliberate inversion or counter gesture, therefore, of Kraft’s neon tubes, being three- dimensional and, of course, lit, take precedence over everything beneath them,” she adds. “His intervention further brings attention to the graphic forms of the writing itself that now takes a certain priority over the significance of those messages. As works of artistic appropriation, the series transforms and transfers the ‘found graffiti’ on the walls of the Ground Zero Blues Club into new and complex juxtapositions of form and content in the changed environment of the art gallery.”

"Much like Bruce Nauman and other contemporary artists who have worked with light, Kraft treats the medium as both tangible (the glass tubes), and intangible (the light), conveying both its materiality as sculpture and its transparency in abstract form. The very flexibility of the medium has allowed the artist a range of possibilities from very minimal abstract compositions to his extremely complex Unintentional Drawings of 2010, also in this exhibit. His Ground Zero pieces are an exciting continuation in his exploratory trajectory."