Author: Beatrice Antonie Martino

“Ken Cro-Ken: The Conduct of Paint”

Art and Nature: A Collaboration

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

It is late one night, and you are out in nature, far away from the city, with your eye pressed up to the lens of a telescope. Distant planets and galaxies appear to be within the reach of your arm. But what would it look like, if the vastness of the universe were encapsulated in the palm of your hand? The answer lies in Ken Cro-Ken’s macro/micro paintings. These mini paintings, which are no larger than the palm of your hand, are nestled within larger paintings, offering alternative perspectives of the same slice of the multiverse. In his own words: “It is for the viewer to determine whether it is a microscope zooming-in for a closer look or a telescope that reveals the greater body from a distance. Which painting is the macro and which is the micro?” Cro-Ken’s playful relationship with the macro and micro forces of Nature is evident in all of his work – whether painting, sculpture, or video. 

The work of Ken Cro-Ken, self-ascribed ecosystem painter and environmentalist videographer, is currently on view at PS109 El Barrio’s Artspace in New York City, presented by WhiteBox in collaboration with 2B&2C. The one-man show, entitled Ken Cro-Ken: The Conduct of Paint invites the viewer into conversation with Nature, through exuberant improvisational paintings that simultaneously capture the great expanse of the universe and the delicate intricacies of time in motion. 

Working at the intersection of the microscopic and macroscopic, Cro-Ken considered himself a conduit for Nature’s expressivity, co-creating in concert with seasonal and elemental forces. Cro-Ken used chemical catalysts – what he called “Speed Elements” – to set his paintings in motion, and to reveal the invisible “push-pull” forces of Nature. These durational paint experiments were conducted in a … Click here to read more