Currents, Issue 58
April 12—June 5, 1994
For those familiar with Susan Crile's work of the 1970s and 1980s, the artist's most recent body of work, The Fires of War, may come as a smock. Crile established her reputation as a painter of complex abstractions, characterized by radiant color and intricate interweavings of planes and space. Much of her earlier art could be described as a form of abstract pastoral, projecting onto canvas an ideal world of sensuous shape and color that engages a twentieth-century tradition exemplified by Matisse. The Fires of War, by contrast, confronts in the most vivid terms a subject of scarifying brutality: war and environmental calamity. Relatively few artists of the post-World War II era have addressed such themes in painting and drawing. The Fires of War stands out as among the most powerful depictions of this subject in recent times.