CHRIS CRITES – Sad Stories
Chris Crites painted his first four mug shots in acrylic on paper bag in 1999. Seriously focusing on the subject matter of arrest photographs since 2002, he has developed and refined his brightly colored, limited palette style. Adding crimes scenes, accidents, commissioned portraiture, mushroom clouds, nudes and firearms to his body of work, Crites has shown and been published across the United States and Europe. This includes six paintings in a six month group show at the Hallé St. Pierre Museum in Paris, France in 2015. His art work is represented in San Francisco by Jack Fischer Gallery. He is also an independent curator and lives in Seattle with his wife and cats.
These ten paintings on panel came out of an experiment based on images from my collection of crime scene, war, disaster and accident photos. It was an attempt to see how much I could convey with only one color plus white. They are about the morbid fascination people have with subjects our society tends to shun, ignore, hide or gloss over. Death is taboo. Pain and suffering are only to be discussed behind closed doors, if at all.
We all have our sad stories. The darkness of life is as much a part of it as sunshine. These images may be harsh, the stories behind them harsher, but that does not diminish or make them less real. I consider these a form of the long historical line of “memento mori”.