FIELDS AND FOLDS: NEW PAINTINGS BY DRAGANA CRNJAK AT PAGE BOND GALLERY, OCTOBER 5 TO OCTOBER 27, 2018
Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present Fields and Folds: new paintings by Dragana Crnjak. The exhibitions open Friday, October 5 from 6 to 8PM and is on view through October 27, 2018.
In 2015, Bosnian born artist Dragana Crnjak traveled along the Balkan Peninsula, becoming familiar with a few patterns used in Serbian monasteries, traditional embroideries and household items. She was particularly drawn to Zmijanjski Vez, a hand stitched embroidery practiced by women in villages atop mountain Manjača in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After sitting at a table rearranging, folding and photographing placements of the 8 x10 pattern samples, a pattern “settles in.” She projects the patterns onto the painting in a dark room, and traces them.
After tracing, she turns the lights on. The blind mapping meeting the the light always reveals some subtleties she hadn’t anticipated in the darkroom. “It involves responding to the projected image viscerally,” she says, “tracing down quickly the pattern, as if mapping the familiar…and trusting the map.”
The familiar, domestic patterns animate the painting’s “slower visual field,” at once appearing near as flesh and displaced from the painting. The viewer is lulled gracefully into a kind of “staying while not knowing,” the intricate geometric patterns revealing their own vernacular that disrupt “a discipline with a long history of looking into and looking at.” The objecthood of the painting maintains its integrity as the slow dynamics of the patterns traced onto the painting lend themselves to opening up the longer a viewer engages. Crnjak approaches the painting process as diagramming, indexing the operations between memory and anticipation. “The painting is always a map of its own place and time,” she says, “and has to operate by itself.”
Dragana Crnjak received her BFA in Painting from Myers School of Art at the University of Akron, Ohio in 2002 and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 2004. She is recipient of Virginia Museum of Fine Art Professional Fellowship in drawing and Individual Excellence Awards from Ohio Arts Council. Crnjak is Associate Professor of painting and drawing at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio