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Worcester’s Carrie Crane Combines Science and Art

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Worcester's Carrie Crane is a painter and a sculptor with a unique dual interest: science and art. She believes strongly in the ability of the "artistic creative process" to inform the "scientific creative process" and vice versa.

The subjects she paints reflect her belief in this cohesive relationship. She is fascinated by the interaction of the forces of nature, things like water and ice, gravitational pull, wind erosion, volcanic, tectonic and human activity that create the landscape we view every day.

Her specific interests stem directly from her roots.

"I grew up on a hay farm in the Berkshires and had parents that continually encouraged my siblings and I to pay attention to the nature around us. My father would invite us on his evening walk, known as a “peer and a poke”. I really believe this is where it all began, the curiosity about the landscape and the forces of nature," she says.

Her fascination with nature lead her to study geography in college, but her interest in art was not fully actualized until adulthood, beginning in her late 20s by taking classes at WAM, RISD, and MassART.

She started off as an egg tempera painter, being "attracted to the quality of color and the luminosity of the surface that the medium allowed for." After she had a child, she moved on to acrylic paints as they were easier to work with. She began painting landscapes, both real and surreal, but she kept a similar style. painting as if it were egg tempera. This worked well for her for awhile, she explains, painting colorful and whimsical portraits, but she soon changed yet again.

"About five years ago I made a drastic move away from that and began focusing more on content than media. I was pulled toward science and technology to inspire my work and used the materials that allowed me to express what I thinking."

She began to paint large multi-layered paintings on sheets of Lexan. In addition, she has created large mixed media sculptures and even animated videos on the computer.

"I work on the computer a lot at the beginning of the art making process but ultimately my work is handmade," she explains.

The Lexan paintings are 3-dimensional, giving the viewer the impression of seeing the landscape from above.

She is currently working on a series of works, as an "artist-in-residence,” inspired by her research at a physics lab at Clark University.

What she gets out of doing her work is simple, yet somehow profound in the way she approaches it. While scientists, by definition, are limited by reality, artists can create their own. It's a freeing exercise.

"It's the satisfaction of problem-solving. Artists have the luxury of having a job where they seek out challenges of their own choosing then try to resolve them, when successful, it’s a real charge. I also get to follow my imagination wherever I can get it to take me and that is always interesting."

Her blending of the real and the imaginary is seamless.

"The constant in my work is my process. I tend to gather a lot of visual information and then gradually edit it away until there is the essence of what I started with but not a picture of it. There is enough of it left for the viewer to see hints of the original idea or image, if only subconsciously," she says.

Carrie Crane's work has been seen in as far away as Minnesota and Wisconsin. In Central Mass, her work as been seen at Quinsigamond Community College, the Krikorian Gallery, UMass Medical School, the Goddard House, and the ArtsWorcester galleries. She won the Jacob Knight Award for painting in 2004.

To learn more about Carrie Crane, visit her website


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