Dewey Crumpler on Jazz

Early in his career, Dewey Crumpler painted murals focusing on African American social and political
issues. His skill at structuring dynamic wall-sized compositions was honed from studies with Pablo O’
Higgins and David Alfaro Siqueiros in Mexico City. But Crumpler was increasingly drawn to the
expressive possibilities—visual and emotional—of abstract images, which he has pursued in paint,
prints and sculpture for nearly 30 years. He will investigate an image relentlessly—such as the bulbous
shape of a tulip or Monet’s lily pond at Giverny, France—and extend the form into myriad directions and
mediums. Thematically, Crumpler has sought to address the history of slavery in America and explore
how Africans “transformed their experience of subjugation into … cultural self-fulfillment and spiritual
development.” The concept of metamorphosis becomes actual practice through his artmaking. Crumpler
takes shapes derived from instruments of torture—leg irons, neck collars, and chains—and employs
them “as abstracted vehicles that become transmuted into organic materials like tulip flowers and other
malleable substances.” This symbolic conversion is most apparent in the decorative wood sculptures he
calls Meta Objects. These are life-sized transfigurations of slave collars. Echoes of this form appear in
Crumpler’s latest paintings and drawings. Born in 1949, Crumpler is a Professor of Art and Art History at
San Francisco Art Institute, where he has taught since 1990
His take on jazz is impressive


One Comment Add yours

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