PULLMAN, Wash. — The Compton Union Gallery at Washington State University will host “Nests and Spirits – Drawings and Sculpture by Enid Crawford” from Jan. 12 through Feb. 6. The gallery, located on the WSU campus in the Compton Union Building, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.
“Nests and Spirits,” an installation of large-scale drawings and mixed media sculptures, is a page from the journal of one artist’s contemplations on the mysteries of nature. Says Crawford of her work, “The earliest forms of art spoke of our sacred and mystical associations with the earth. I believe it is natural to seek understanding of the unknown and mysterious. I believe art clarifies reality and satisfies a deep need to understand the world. Art makes life more livable, more beautiful and more comprehensible. The images I create speak of a reconnection to the organic — to the cycle of growth, proliferation, transformation and death.”
Crawford has been drawing nests for almost 20 years. Working with the idea of making the commonplace provocative, Crawford wondered what the effect would be if the small cup-shaped objects, usually viewed at a distance, were increased five to 10 times their natural size. The drawings in this exhibit are the result of that exploration. They are stunning in their complexity, uniqueness, size and sheer beauty, said Gail Siegel, coordinator for WSU Campus Involvement.
In juxtaposition to the drawings, are the sculptures of ephemeral owls traveling in translucent boats to destinations unknown.
Over the years Crawford has also collected small remains of plants and animals that are somehow unusual in their attributes or emanations. “The little sculptures I call ‘the owl people’ are formed from bones found while trekking in the woods,” she said. “The shape and ‘eye holes’ remind me of faces, and it seems proper for them to be floating in their mystical boats waiting for a mystical river.”
Crawford lives and works in Pullman. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University and master’s degree from the University of Idaho.