Modern Art (Bury St) – Andrew Cranston: If You See Something That Doesn’t Look Right

© The Artist, Image Courtesy of Modern Art Gallery, Mayfair, London

1 July – 6 August, 2022

Cranston’s show at Modern Art includes large-scale paintings made with distemper and oil on linen and smaller works painted on hardback book covers. These paintings appear like fragments, capturing and preserving an illusion for us in an expansive world of their own. Each canvas offers a glimpse into the heart of a densely packed scene, guiding our attention through the oblique contours of Cranston’s storytelling. Most of the paintings are scenes of domesticity, private spaces beckoning the viewer’s curiosity inward. Abandoned tables, empty chairs and barren chambers pull the brakes on our attention, first lulling, then tuning our perception to the fabric of dreamlike domains. What emerges is compelling and uncanny: a frail child hanging off sky-high branches, a cat reclining on freshly painted floorboards or a faceless figure meeting our gaze. The question of narrative casts its shadow as we feel the distance between us and the heart of action, tripping up and trying, quickly, to catch on. The work asks, without ever quite revealing, whether these are moments of foreboding or earnest reflection.

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