Craig Drennen at Saltworks

SALTWORKS presents [Dramatis Personæ], Atlanta-based artist Craig Drennen’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Continuing his exploration of overlooked and unknown cultural contributions, Drennen’s latest subject is Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens. For this exhibition Drennen has created new paintings, works on paper and a performance.

Timon of Athens is Shakespeare’s most challenging and obscure play. It was unfinished and never performed in his lifetime and is generally free of critical analysis and deterministic theories. According to Drennen, this lack of history and public perception provides an open stage onto which he projects his subjectivity.

Utilizing a bottom up approach, Drennen works through the play’s dramatis personæ, using contemporary associations to depict each character individually, then eventually in combination. The process is similar to the evolution of a language as it begins simply, then moves toward greater complexity. Iteration and nuance can be seen in four works on paper in this exhibition — each titled after the character Painter — featuring a large scrawled ‘X’ in the center, overlayed with a polka dot pattern borrowed from a woman’s skirt, and a hyper-realistic rendering of a Polaroid.

Sustained viewing of Drennen’s work reveals subtle differences in composition and palette spread across a broad spectrum of painterly effects. This versimilitude alludes to an actor’s craft and the use of trompe l’oeil, gestural marks, and hard-edge abstraction is less about pastiche and more about allowing the physical material of paint to perform as many tasks as possible. Drennen states that”…’Painting as acting’ is more important in that I’m making the paint become many different things”.

Craig Drennen lives and works in Atlanta, GA. His work has been reviewed in Artforum magazine, The New York Times among other publications. This is his first solo exhibition at Saltworks. He teaches drawing, painting, and critical writing at Georgia State University and serves as Dean of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has shown in international art fairs such as NEXT, Scope, MACO, and Volta. Since 2008 he has organized his studio practice around Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens.

Through March 3.
Artist talk, Saturday, Jan. 21.

664 11th St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

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