Mary Crenshaw

I work across disciplines in painting, drawing and sculpture. Immediacy features in all of my work and is rooted in Eastern philosophical notions of force and energy, as opposed to the way of thinking about strength in Western culture. Sinologist François Jullien declares that the Chinese have no concept of soul, but that of a vital, distinctive life-force. Jullien describes how instead of Western ideas of suffering and endurance, Eastern convictions include flexibility and awareness. This is the kind of energy. I aspire to convey to the viewer.

Pouring paint directly onto surfaces– paper, canvas, other fabrics –has been for me the most immediate way of applying paint and letting go of control. Also, I use this technique during the glazing phase of ceramics. The sensual results of thick, poured ceramic glaze sometimes results in a look akin to sugary cake icing.

I use shapes and marks and lumps of clay as starting points for experimentation, manipulating the material, and exploiting its raw components. Young male migrants in most Italian cities once were on every street corner panhandling, arms stretched out holding baseball caps as coin recipients. Finding this silent imploring poignant, I started depicting the jutted arms holding hats. Eventually, this led to abbreviating just the body parts. It occurred to me that my feelings of confusion translated well with the disjointed parts, and later with the pandemic, I channeled my fear into chaotic imagery. Humour and tragedy going hand in hand, sneakers, pointy heels and blue jeans reflect contemporary life, and indicate the times.