Curated by Varia Serova
2021 © Zephyr and Maize
Maysey Craddock in her studio © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Best known for her visceral gouache paintings of ephemeral landscapes, Maysey Craddock deciphers the dualities and mysteries of natural world. Using saturated earth tones and translucent layers, she captures the relationship between nature and architecture, focusing on environments beyond human intervention. Craddock's imagery is dense and dynamic, with trees, watery surfaces and roots symbolising the eternal cycle of death and rebirth, her works referencing the physical and the metaphysical, collapsing time, place, and memory.
Taking as inspiration her own photographs of wetlands and other fragile natural environments, her process layers intricate drawings and performative painting onto found objects (typically, brown paper bags, carefully embroidered together). This conceptual regeneration mirrors geological processes, capturing and preserving Craddock's observations of organic forms, shapes and patterns, transporting the viewer into a meditative place that is both nostalgic and feral. As the artist explains well herself: "There is a chunk of time where I am only seeing the trees, and then, towards the end, I begin to stand back more, and try to see the forest. It becomes a balance between light and dark, the contrast of dense color and washy strokes, all weaving together until I feel, instinctually, that the painting has achieved the perfect harmony and tension. The built paper and the unbuilt image merge."
Maysey Craddock was born in 1971 in Memphis, TN and currently lives and works in Memphis. She received an MFA from Maine College of Art, Portland, ME and a BA in Sculpture and Anthropology from Tulane University in New Orleans. Throughout her career spanning over 25 years, she has participated in numerous solo exhibitions across the United States and Germany, including the Museum of the University of Mississippi; Sears Peyton Gallery, New York; Cris Worley Fine Arts, Dallas; David Lusk Gallery, Memphis; Washington and Lee University, Virginia; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York; Taylor Bercier Fine Art, New Orleans; James F. Byrnes Institute, Stuttgart, Germany; Pan American Art Projects, Dallas, TX; Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle; The Foyer, Munich, Germany; Maine College of Art; and the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. Her work has been included in a plethora of group exhibitions and is in the collections of many institutions and organizations, including the Brooks Museum of Art; The Arkansas Arts Center; Music City Center, Nashville; Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN; Charles Hotel, Munich; FedEx; First Bank, Nashville; NexAir; Pfizer Corporation; St. Mary’s Episcopal School and The Assisi Foundation in Memphis. She has received numerous awards, grants and residencies, including the Tennessee Artist Fellowship from Austin Peay State University; an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Tennessee Arts Commission; Artist in Residence at Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, Schwandorf, Germany; Artist in Residence at Maine College of Art; and sculpture and painting residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.
Maysey Craddock is represented by Sears Peyton Gallery, New York and L.A.; David Lusk Gallery, Memphis & Nashville, TN; Cris Worley Fine Arts, Dallas, TX.
Drawing table © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
20 years of tracing © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Studio view with Luna © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Studio wall (I) © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Studio wall (II) © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
The process of sewing © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Studio wall (III) © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Tracing "Palisades" © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Workspace panorama with the studio window © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock
Craddock's recent works in her studio space (left to right): (1) Bathysphere, 2021, 47.5 x 37.25 inches, gouache, flashe and thread on paper bags; (2) Red Clay Poem, 2021, 60 x 60 inches, gouache, flashe and thread on paper bags; (3) The Gentle Hour, 2021, 50 x 38 inches, gouache, flashe and thread on paper bags © Courtesy of Maysey Craddock