Nashville, Tennessee
Contemporary Art Gallery

237 Rep. John Lewis Way N. 37219
Tuesday–Saturday 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.







Jason Craighead

“Our modern lives are entangled in a complicated world that is in turn joyful, tragic, confusing, dark, wild, and brilliant. In my work, vast areas of softly washed color exist alongside frenetic mark making; midnight black and glowing metallic swaths of pigment delineate movement and a surprising depth throughout the surface.”

Jason Craighead’s bold and colorful gestural markings abbreviate swaths of exposed canvas and soft washes of color. Gentle, wide brushstrokes and negative space are interrupted by frenetic drips and jagged scrawls, which seem to flow into words and phrases only just-legible, as if hovering at the edge of the unconscious; half-remembered, out-of-focus.

The written word manifests in two forms in Craighead’s paintings. Scribbled mantras, which seem to proceed from the gestural markings, are at one with the visual-language of the artist’s brushstrokes. The words emanate from the mark-making process itself, as if the paintings are a meditative search for language. Yet, this search is always in tension with the pages of type interpolated onto the canvas. Structural meaning is fractured; deconstructed through these pages, which appear to be torn from old dictionaries.

These large-scale paintings delve into the depths of human feeling in a way that words cannot. Moreover, they seem to point to the cracks in words themselves. Text becomes a broken vessel, often incapable of holding the fullness of waking life, much less of expressing that experience to another. Instead, the poetic ambiguity of color and the energetic expression of gestural marks allow for a shared experience of meaning-making, creating a mutual space of communion between artist and viewer.

In 2018, the artist had his first solo museum exhibition, Threshold, at CAM in Raleigh, NC. The artist’s first international solo gallery exhibition, Endless River, opened this year at Makasiini Contemporary in Turku, Finland. Craighead was invited to be the visiting artist at the University of Kentucky, Lexington in the Fall of 2019. The artist lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Solo exhibition, From River to Ocean, 2022

Group exhibition, Annual Retrospective, 2018

Solo exhibition, Self and System, 2016

Group exhibition, New Abtractions, 2015

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