This oil painting by Fred Crayk of a small local park is different from his abstract figure paintings or his religious narratives. It shows his interest in the oil paint medium, as heavy brush strokes piece the outside scene together. From close up, we can see how these thick marks give the trees an almost 3-D effect. The pond and the path are painted with much calmer and gentle marks. Seen from a distance, we see the park more than the paint marks themselves, and we notice the shadow of the trees on the grass.
Fred’s work shows interesting takes on historical, religious, cultural and social narratives. He raises such issues, sometimes through abstracted paintings, and sometimes through more truthful representations of the figure. His figures keep a balance between realism and the expression of their emotional state.
Fred is interested in symbolism which he expresses both in very abstracted means, and in more obvious ways where he uses recognised symbols such as the cross, a dove or a skeleton. Fred says that his ultimate challenge is "the resolution of doubt", which might explain the amount of religious narratives.
In addition to exploring deep and intellectual issues, he explores sensual and psychological issues through his characters. He connects the old and the new, the deep and the every-day, by using contemporary subjects. For example, his biblical scenes such as the ascension or the resurrection of Lazarus have modern-day models, and his painting “cave” uses a small desk lamp in the darkness, which gives the same light contrasts as a small cave would.
In many of his paintings he uses a contrast between light and dark, inspired by Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro effect from the baroque era-the treatment of light and shade using drawing and painting. His figures and his interest in religious motifs are also inspired by Renaissance artists such as Titian and Tintoretto.
Fred uses oil paint to depict the body: “My work arises from an acute awareness of oil paint’s associations with the body in the emotional, sensual and psychological”.
Fred Crayk, born 1952, was brought up in Malta and in northern Scotland. He attended Art School in Paris and completed a postgraduate degree at The Edinburgh College of Art. His cultural knowledge and international awareness is important to the ideas behind his art.