Los Angeles

Keith Crown

Occidental College

Keith Crown has been plugging away for a long time, and has been, unfortunately, limited as far as this kind of attention is concerned by several irrelevancies: he’s a watercolorist, a landscapist, and a college professor. Nevertheless, his small retrospective in hardly optimum circumstances (a friendly, tweedy college lobby alive with mahogany, floor wax and the ghosts of leather elbow patches) is a joy, especially the watercolors. Crown bullies through the natural restrictions on intensity, and the traditional overtones of his medium and pulls off some of the best small painting in my direct experience. His decorativeness is solid and persistent; his color is honest as well as pretty; and his drawing—that is, carving up the page—is pragmatically simple. His sole new ingredient, spray, falls to the paper from an airbrush charged by an over-filled spare tire, where it is blotted and washed and clashed with the rest of his transparent crust. If Crown is unpretentious to a fault, he is also a very good painter.

Peter Plagens