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Craig Cree Stone’s energy is intellectual and playful. He challenges you conceptually, perceptually and literally but with a dollop of humor. Craig C. Stone: Shapeshifting at El Camino College Art Gallery, presents selections from the artist’s studio and public works from 1978-2005. Exhibition dates are August 29-September 23, 2005.

Stone’s sculptures, paintings and installations are more about ideas than about surface or form, although his work is nearly always beautiful. The objects are constructed according to the way they have been depicted, either in drawings, paintings or media photographs. The quixotic constructions address issues of identity on many fronts. For instance, in work done in the late 1980s. Stone assumed fictional personas to take credit for his work: Stella Jumping Eagle, Michi No Kogeni and Martin Rabinowitz, to name a few. The pieces from this era confront notions of what is identified as male or female, Native American, Asian or Jewish, while simultaneously challenging rules of visual perception by means of false shadows, mirrors and contrary use of materials. These elegant sculptures tease, all the while examining how insidiously perception and self-identification are prescribed and limited by cultural stereotyping. Stone describes a trapezoidal, footed cabinet, painted in shades of burnt sienna, aqua and blue-gray, titled Masculine Ties (Male Ritual Object), as a polychrome phalliform container for lengths of ornamental fabric worn dangling from the neck. The piece poses the question, does the tie make the man?

El Camino College Art Gallery is delighted to host this exhibition of works by Craig Cree Stone whose shapeshifting art provokes and amuses.

Curator El Camino College Art Gallery

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Putting Rietveld on a Pedestal

43"x28"x21", lacquer on wood

Reitveld Series

65"x36"x12", mixed media
Post-modern art can be characterized by a borrowing of styles from art history. Craig Stone’s work does not refer directly to other specific pieces or styles but rather to the reproduction of art. His Rietveld Series (1987-88) consists of a group of sculptures and wall pieces that imitate magazine depiction of an art piece called the Schroeder Table by the artist Gerrit Rietveld. Each piece is constructed to represent a slightly different version of the photo of the table- one piece is faded as though it has been overexposed; one is off-balance, as a 3-D sculpture would be when using a magazine, with planar distortions, as a model. Above each table is a Mondrian-like construction with pieces of the geometry missing or replaced by surprising materials such as mirror or broken glass.
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Another Washington Monument

11.5'x4'x4', mixed media

Another Washington Monument

Another Washington Monument, the Summer of ’82, an eleven and one half foot tall painted Plexiglas and wood sculpture is the result of a grant awarded to Stone by Capitol Classroom (an educational program focusing on politics and the arts) and by the Long Beach Museum of Art. Exhibited with the sculpture are the artist’s notes, which inform viewers that the grant money was actually raised by selling hot dogs (federal funding for the arts had just been cut). Though the government could not spare funds for making art they were able to pay Ted Kennedy to lecture to the award winning artists and lead them on a guided tour of Georgetown to present them with a view of the city’s historic façade. Stone, disinterested in superficial appearance, investigated the area further. The tweaked steps leading up to Another Washington Monument display a plate that reads, Low-cost housing, acquired by the middle class is being converted to luxury apartments and town homes. Urban renovation causes shortages of low-cost housing, displaces former tenants, and leads to resentment and hostility, from which violence ensues. As you enter the gallery space, the monolithic Monument rises – a painted Plexiglas column atop a flight of forced-perspective wooden stairs. When you wander to the backside, the rear of the structure emerges with its graffiti covered walls, broken windows and trash.

Drawing Table, 5'x28"x8"
lacquer on acrylic and wood with paper

Interior, 6'x8'x10"
mixed media installation

Drawing Table Series; On the path of becoming the thing imitated
: that which must be consumed as art
28"x42"x11", lacquer on wood and acrylic

No Shibui Lamp, 38"x16"x16
paper with lacquered wood

Lobby of Floating Ceilings,
permanent mixed media installation, Long Beach CA
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Shadow Casting on the Shore (1 of 80 images), 5'x4'
stained concrete on sidewalk; Belmont Shore, Long Beach

Earth Upon Water; Hilltop Perspectives, Signal Hill CA
Mixed Media

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 Last Updated On: 1/13/06