23
Sep
10

Ralston Crawford : Paintings

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“I look ahead to the left and to the right, ahead and behind. Then I paint from my memory
and from the thoughts about the things I have remembered.” Ralston Crawford

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Ralston Crawford
Aircraft Plant
Oil on canvas
1945
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Ralston Crawford
Lights in an Aircraft Plant
Oil on canvas
1945
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Ralston Crawford
Nacelles Under Construction
Oil on canvas
1946
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In 1944, American artist Ralston Crawford (1906-1978) was commissioned by the Miller Lighting Company to make a painting of its revolutionary new lighting system in a Buffalo aircraft plant, which had replaced existing rows of hanging floodlights with fourteen miles of continuous fluorescent lighting. Touring the Buffalo aircraft plant, closely packed with its seemingly chaotic array of brightly colored airplane parts in all stages of manufacture, must have been an unforgettable experience for him, with his increasingly abstract style. Crawford’s paintings had become progressively more abstract throughout the 1940s, turning away from easily recognizable subjects and relying more and more on geometric shapes and solid blocks of color. He had therefore no intention of creating a realistic depiction of the plant’s interior or aircraft under construction. Although he avoided creating “pure” geometric forms that didn’t spring from real experience, at the same time, he simplified, distorted and cropped his subjects until they bore little resemblance to the original objects. These geometric shapes may be based on Crawford’s fragmented memories of aircraft parts and structural elements within the plant, or perhaps they are objects that he observed in his peripheral field of vision. Here they have been brought into sharp focus and committed to canvas — an extraordinary artistic accomplishment…

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Ralston Crawford : Photographs

Ralston Crawford : More Works

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