You will ordinarily not find hot-air balloons, bowling pins, pogo sticks or dinosaurs in cowboy genre paintings, which traditionally employ landscapes, horses and campfires. Chad Crane’s cowboy paintings at Palmers Gallery are not ordinary, but whimsical and ironic interpretations of a genre amply depicted in Western culture. Crane takes something he is well acquainted with—particularly from his youth—and reinvents it with his own brand of humor and unique aesthetic approach.
Crane says he hates cowboy paintings. He grew up in Morgan, Utah and saw cowboy culture in abundance at county fairs and in films; he developed an early aversion to this culture. Crane’s cowboy narratives, although derisive and cynical, do not attempt to destroy the integrity of the genre. He uses unconventional humor and absurdities to deconstruct the venerated and sacred representation of the cowboy, immortalized by icons like John Wayne and John Ford. Crane means merely to give a shove to their secure placement on a pedestal.
Taming the Myth: Chad Crane @ Palmers Gallery, 378 W. Broadway, 801-359-4632, through May 9. PalmersGallery.com