artist / participant

press release

The Horticultural Society of New York is pleased to present never before exhibited paintings by Ann Craven as part of its continuing program of exhibiting classical and contemporary artworks investigating botanics and horticulture. On view will be three new paintings riffing on allure, illusion and the openness of poetic license - Craven is at her best - showing us something again, for the first time.

Accompanying the show, the gallery's project walls will feature a selection of voluptuous, filigreed water lilies made during the artist's residency at Monet's Giverny in 2003 - paintings that the artist considers her "phoenix".

Ann Craven, most famous for her seductive bird monikers and reproductive chicanery, will be painting flowers here. By no means backing down from her aggressively conceptual repetitive strategy (her 2004 solo at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Inc. a direct copy of her 2002 show there - but bigger), Craven carefully plays on Minimalist tactics yet manages so willfully to shatter open Minimalism's "frigid little heart" with paintings so unabashedly beautiful and heart wrenching it seems impossible to break free from their aura. Is it possible to impeccably create the same painting twice, even three times, maybe more, rupturing everything we hold sacred about painting - spilling it out in front of our eyes in hallucinatory fashion? Like aliens in a diorama, Craven's paintings are specimens of a process, interesting not because of the depicted image, but compelling by way of their birth in the world.

"Rather than making us feel foolish for falling for her skillful act of tromp l'oeil, Craven's strategy lets us fall in love again with both sentimentality and painter-liness. Just as we listen to the same love song, over and over again, or watch a home movie repeatedly, sentimentality causes us to let go of our need for originality and to relinquish our reservations about reproduction. By repeating herself, Craven acknowledges these repetitive activities - you could call it human reproduction - as something more than acts of futility or nostalgia. They are signs of optimism, even resiliency, defying the recycled cynicism evident in too much of what passes for originality in contemporary culture." Barbara Pollack - Time Out NY

Exhibiting broadly in the United States and recently in Europe, Ann Craven has been reviewed and featured in such publications as Artforum, Frieze, ArtNews, Art in America, Tema Celeste, the New Yorker and the New York Times, to cite from a lengthy list. Recently, Craven mounted her first solo exhibition in Milan at Paolo Curti/Annamaria Gambuzzi & Co., garnering numerous revues and features from many prominent European publications. Her work is included in the Permanent Collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami. In April, concurrent with the HSNY exhibition, Craven's paintings will be on view at the Angstrom Gallery in Dallas, Texas. In addition, Craven will be a featured artist in the April 2005 issue of Modern Painters, published in tandem with her show at the Horticultural Society of New York. This publication will be available for gallery visitors.

HSNY's mission is to improve the quality of life in New York through its library, community outreach and education programs.


Ann Craven