the light that traveled the shore, gouache and thread on found paper, 66″ x 47,” 2014
drawn into a deeper shore I, gouache and thread on found paper, 48″ x 63,” 2014
Bloom, gouache and thread on found paper, 54.5″ x 39,” 2014
the sea is a body in a thousand ways, gouache and thread on found paper, 48.25″ x 33.5,” 2014
Ghosts on the Water, gouache and thread on found paper, 49″ x 36.5,” 2014
For the past 10 years, I have been drawn to architectural ruin as a visual exploration of themes of impermanence, mortality, memory, and entropy. The questions I have asked in this work continue to drive my paintings but I have shifting to exploring them in the context of coastlines and estuary systems as active ruins. This body of work reflects this shift in my imagery and is based on my interaction with and documentation of a specific landscape: the Alabama Gulf Coast.
We think of land as solid and immutable, heavy and dense with proscribed edges and borders (geological, political, cultural, personal). But land shifts as drastically and permanently as anything in our natural world. Coastlines are especially vulnerable to change: the ravages of storms, natural erosion, marshes’ and estuaries’ fragility and, of course, human manipulation of land. We shore up, close in, confine, and try to tame this ribbon of tenuous border between land and sea, and the patches of wild and verdant coast that are left diminish steadily.
I have been going to Alabama’s Gulf Coast my entire life, and I have seen the way it has changed in my lifetime—not to mention the 200 years or so since it was settled. I work from my own photographs, which document the tiny stretches of natural coast that are left. The trees, stitching land and sea, are grasping to hold it together. Ghostly husks of a fading world, they are like memorials to the memory of another land. I think often about the idea of palimpsest: the layers of meaning and experience at a single site. My works are another layer of the palimpsest of the land. They are monuments to change, and ask us to consider our place in the inevitable course of change and shifting sands.
Change is a constant in a world that is full of drastic quick shifts, death, inexplicable destruction by humans and by nature and, of course, the slow, plodding progress of time. But there is also new energy in change: birth, reclamation, and the wisdom and grace that come from accepting this duality. As an artist, I function as a link between this landscape around us and the possibility within it. None of us has to go far to key into a quality of presence. It is available, all around us, waiting to be heard.
About the Artist
Maysey Craddock explores themes of transience, impermanence, and memory in the landscape. Her watercolor and gouache paintings on sewn paper bags reflect the strength and promise that can be found in profound change and loss. Based on her own photographs of shifting landscapes, her paintings are intricate renderings of the intersection of humans and nature, conjuring an atmosphere of absence and reclamation.
Since the mid-1990s, Maysey Craddock has exhibited across the United States and in Germany. She has been an artist-in-residence at Oberpfalzer Kunslerhaus, Schwandorf, Germany; Maine College of Art, Portland; and Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Amherst. She also has received two residency grants from Vermont Studio Center, as well as grants from the Louisiana Endowment for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission. In 2014, Maysey Craddock was awarded the Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Tennessee Arts Commission.
Maysey Craddock’s work can be seen in many public and private collections, including those of Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee; and Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock.
Recent shows of Maysey Craddock’s paintings include “Forest for the Trees” at David Lusk Gallery, Memphis; “Present Tense” at Dixon Museum of Art, Memphis; “Angle of Repose” in Arkansas and Virginia; and “A Different Kind of Landscape” at Brooks Museum of Art. A solo exhibition of Maysey’s Craddock’s work opens at Sears Peyton Gallery, New York, New York, September 10, 2015.
Outside her studio, Maysey Craddock has developed a comprehensive Professional Practices workshop aimed at assisting artists to articulate their work and studio practice. Her work with artists’ best practices has extended to advocacy for visual artists in the Memphis area, where she has been working with ArtsMemphis, a regional nonprofit arts-granting organization, to help build its first grant program for individual artists. Her curatorial work at The Medicine Factory in Memphis includes “how far back do you want me to go : An Installation by Clover Archer Lyle” and “Parts to a Whole : Liz Sweibel and Ben Butler.”
Recipient of a bachelor’s in art from Tulane University in New Orleans and a master’s in fine art from Maine College of Art, Portland, Maysey Craddock splits her time between studios in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Maysey Craddock is represented nationally by David Lusk Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee; Sears Payton Gallery, New York, New York, and Los Angeles, California; and Cris Worley Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas.