RALSTON CRAWFORD (1906-1978): PHOTOGRAPHS
This Week In New York - www.twi-ny.com
March 28, 2007
In addition to being a Precisionist painter, draftsman, and printmaker, Ralston Crawford was a photographer. His black-and-white photographs may have been used primarily as reference for his paintings, but they also stand out on their own as unique works of art. The pictures, thirty of which are on view at the Zabriskie Gallery, reveal his painter’s eye for geometric patterns and shapes, encountering beauty in the subtle details of the changing landscape of natural and industrial America. Beginning in 1940 and continuing through 1977, Crawford, the son of a ship’s captain, took pictures of empty streets, torn signs, a ship’s light, a chain-link fence, hydropower tanks and cranes at the Grand Coulee Dam, jutting rocks on a Utah cliff, or power lines and wires on a roof, finding unique angles and shadows in his careful compositions. Stare long enough at "Shelter," "Muddy Shore," or "Clams" and they’ll transform into abstract paintings right before your eyes.