Raleigh Now Spotlight: Jason Craighead at CAM

Art Howard

Jason Craighead has hit his limit. For the time being, anyway. “In a poetic manner, I feel where I am in life as a human, as a man, as an artist—I’m at a particular threshold in how life changes and grows,” says the mixed-media   abstract artist. For the past year, Craighead has devoted himself to exploring this temporary personal cusp through his tried-and-true method, he says: mark-making. The result is Threshold, Craighead’s summer exhibition at CAM Raleigh opening July 6 and featuring especially massive works, the largest measuring just over 8 feet by 11 feet. “They’re very dramatic,” Craighead says. “It’s almost like each wall of the place is going to be devoted to an idea.”

Art Howard

In the the contemporary museum’s main gallery, Craighead’s work invites a “one-on-one experience,” says CAM exhibitions director Eric Gaard. “The paintings are even almost overwhelming. They are so large-scale and beautifully dramatic, viewing them becomes personal and emotional.” Many of the pieces will be familiar to fans of the Raleigh artist, who is known for playing with color, lines, and raw details. Others are a break from tradition: an entirely pink canvas next to a virtually empty one. These conceptual explorations are a welcomed effect of deep-diving into the meaning of threshold, Craighead says. “I’m an intuitive process guy. I just work and find the next thing and spill into it and work. To develop one relatively whole idea and attack it … that has been interesting.” When viewed in context, it might, as Gaard suggests, transport viewers to a “meditative space. White walls, white floor, abstraction. It’s an inspirational setting.”   Jessie Ammons Rumbley


The show runs through Aug. 26; camraleigh.org