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A moment’s invention

Wren Wertin
Special to the Daily/Simone Fodde-CrotzerKevan Krasnoff's abstract landscapes adorn the walls of The Collaborative in Eagle-Vail. He'll be in residence in the gallery today from 4-8 p.m.
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Ask Kevan Krasnoff where he’s from, and you might not get a black and white answer.

“I don’t know where I’m from,” he said sheepishly. “That’s too esoteric and corny to read in an article, but that’s how I feel.”

The Denver-born painter and sculptor is the guest of honor at The Collaborative in Eagle-Vail today from 4-8 p.m. And though he has lofty ideals – artistic and otherwise – and the intensity to back them up, it all comes together with a little humor, some honesty and quite a bit of grace.

“I’m prone to hypocrisy and contradiction,” he admitted, smiling.

The Collaborative isn’t just the Vail Valley’s newest gallery – it’s one of the freshest. Titled “The Abstract Internal Landscape of Kevan Krasnoff,” the show is filled with the artist’s multi-layered vision.

His horizons extend beyond the canvas, just as his work extends beyond labels. Krasnoff’s primary medium is acrylic on canvas, though he also works with stone, metal and found objects.

“I’m uncomfortable with the title artist,” he explained. “That label is a challenge to own. Maybe if someone loves what they do – truly loves it, whatever it is – maybe they’re an artist. But boxing it in, naming it – that’s the antithesis of an artist.”

Krasnoff has done his share of thinking outside the box – and outside he traditional rectangles and squares of most canvases. Visit The Collaborative and you’ll find several diptychs comprised of oddly shaped paintings, careening at steep angles across the walls. The canvases are talkative, with definite opinions. “Stand here,” they demand. “Look at the world from right here.”

He began working with irregular shapes 14 years ago at the behest of a gallery who specialized in them.

“They imploded, became bookends,” said Krasnoff. “So to stand at the vortex of the canvas, they extend beyond me. That allowed me to work my expression of a landscape beyond a traditional landscape.”

“To meditate in front of them – it’s overwhelming, it’s so transpersonal,” said Gallery Director Simone Fodde-Crotzer.

She’s put her heart and soul into the gallery. She feels a big responsibility to the artists whom she represents, as well as excitement at offering the community their visions. She’s a gift-bearer.

Krasnoff’s more recent paintings are back to rectangular borders, though nobody would ever describe them as traditional. By his own description, his work is about space and freedom – just as his life is.

In the gallery show, there are a few canvases of aspen trees. Banish all thought of shiny, golden leaves fluttering in the autumn wind. These trees, these leaves, come in a variety of colors and they all want attention. There’s nothing orderly about them.

“My ability to live in space and freedom allows me to paint chaos,” he said.

His approach to his work is simple. He paints because he paints – not to have a painting. On this point he won’t expand.

“There is not other explanation,” he said.

The act of painting is the process – the result is something else entirely.

“The paintings and I have a partnership of time, place and situation,” he explained. “That’s the beauty of a finished work, and the mystery and magic of the pursuit of painting.”

He’s got other pursuits, though. He doesn’t just live in his studio, what he calls Command Central (yes, think Starship Enterprises and multiple worlds). He’s passionate about basketball and has spent thousands of hours on the court. He’s returned often to the Grand Canyon, and he loves to travel.

Stop by The Collaborative, located in Eagle-Vail next to Scully’s and Ti Amo, and you can see where he’s been.


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