Andrew Cranston

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View of “Andrew Cranston: Waiting for the Bell,” 2021, Karma, New York. Courtesy the artist and Karma, New York.

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Karma is pleased to present “Waiting for the Bell,” an exhibition of recent paintings by Andrew Cranston (b. 1969, Hawick, UK). This is the artist’s first New York solo exhibition.

Working in oil, distemper, and varnish, Cranston creates transportive images that destabilize our sense of time: they invite the viewer to peruse a space between nostalgia and the realm of the dream. Kindling the wistful poetics of a distant, perhaps imagined, memory, his vignettes remove themselves from the constant rhythm of time. The images in “Waiting for the Bell” conjure a state of liminality—the feeling of being suspended in a dream before the alarm jolts one back to reality.

Dappled brushwork and cloisonne-like textures dance across Cranton’s still lives, landscapes, and interiors. The imagery draws from stories, poems, images, and experiences that emerge from his subconscious. A reference to a Carole King album cover is interlaced alongside the writing of Muriel Spark and visions of the Scottish coast. Cranston uses both additive and reductive processes. He dyes and bleaches his canvases, spontaneously incorporating the emerging forms and fusing chance and intention.

For his small-scale works, Cranston uses hard book covers as surfaces. Leafy trees in House of the famous poet are placed over the debossing on the cover, integrating the book as picture plane. Cranston’s larger, monumental works are painted on canvas. In the show’s titular piece, Waiting for the Bell, a woman contemplatively sits in a chair against a panoply of deep and pale reds. Strokes of oil and bleached striations indicate near and far trees. The monochromatic setting mutes the scene, letting the musicality of sprinkled glowing orbs ring through the scene like twinkling bells. The image captures the reflective constitution of Cranston’s practice; the woman wanders in and out of daydreams, the real world put on pause. 

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