Crystal Latimer: FINE HOUSE
Posted on June 16 2023
Crystal Latimer, Go Your Own Way, 2023. acrylic, pastel, ink, 24k gold, cotton tassels on panel, 34 x 40 in.
Crystal Latimer begins her process with storytelling. What are the symbols of power that stay in our lives? How do our past experiences and inner dialogues make us stronger? Nodding to the ancient use of tapestries to tell stories, Latimer answers these questions by thinking about gender connotations and looking at “Wild West” iconography. In her previous works, Latimer portrayed cowboys as they were historically known, the romantic archetype of the Wild West, conquering nature in spite of the unexplored frontier. This led Latimer to examine the duality of the complementary forces that live in powerful figures: the masculine and the feminine. After researching vintage photographs of cowgirls, the artist was struck by the sense of self that these brazen women personified; existing in an environment of macho sensibility. Latimer thus translates the figure of the cowgirl as a symbol of dichotomy in one’s emotional interior landscape, balancing traditionally masculine traits with feminine understanding. Inspired by the mystical symbolism of ancient and indigenous cultures, Latimer chooses specific animals, botanical motifs, and gold embellishments to adorn her pieces and give encouragement to the viewer to explore their own “Wild West”: new frontiers, new experiences, a new sense of self. In Go Your Own Way, Latimer translates a buffalo, the largest surviving terrestrial animal, into a symbol of fortitude and an allegory for the viewer to stay grounded in their roots and strong in their belief in themselves. Ahead of the exhibition, Latimer read books about folklore, like Lori Morrison’s "The Shaman's Guide to Power Animals", where Latimer began to see roses as symbols of rebirth and growth. The artist translated this into her work by pairing them with 24k gold leaf to remind the viewer to hold value in oneself. These motifs are elevated with the use of flocking, a wallpaper technique popularized in the 18th century. Latimer echoes this process throughout the exhibition to reinforce the meaning in her motifs and that value can be found in the smallest of details. In FINE HOUSE, Latimer takes her psychological visual lexicon established in KEEPSAKES, and expands it into interior design, enhancing the viewer’s living space to inspire fortitude and fluid gender expression.
As an artist, Crystal Latimer is constantly thinking about new ways to bring her affirmations to life, and how to continue connecting to the concept of the “interior.” In recent years, she realized the visual language developed in KEEPSAKES was not limited to the canvas but could translate well in other parts of the home. Producing home furnishings and partnering with brands like Tuft the World and Butterfield Editions, became the natural next step for Latimer, allowing this exhibition to elevate and expand her artwork to a new level above aesthetics: all-encompassing design. She explains, “Art is meant to live in many forms. I believe that surrounding ourselves with beauty and inspiration is a powerful invisible force.” This expansion of Latimer’s practice exemplifies Paradigm Gallery’s Art+ program, which focuses on fine artwork with practical functionality. Art belongs in more places than just on walls, it’s woven through all parts of life.
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Crystal Latimer was born in Hollywood, CA but grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA. In 2010, Crystal completed her BFA Slippery Rock University. She then went to receive an MA and MFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2016, respectively.
Crystal's work has been shown extensively in both solo and group exhibitions, including at Collect Art Fair (Somerset House, London), Art Miami (Basel Art Week, Art Miami), Paradigm Gallery, Visions West Gallery (Denver, Montana) Pittsburgh International Airport, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Chautauqua Institution, George Washington University among others. Internationally, she has also exhibited at the London Art Fair, La Galleria at Pall Mall, London, and was shortlisted for the Young Masters Art Prize with Cynthia Corbett Gallery. Crystal was an artist in residence at the Joaquin Chaverri Fabrica de Carretas in Sarchi, Costa Rica in 2014. Crystal's work has been featured in Create!, Pikchur, Art Maze, Ruminate, and Fresh Paint Magazines. Her work is included in public and private collections nationally and internationally; public collections including those of Indiana State University of Pennsylvania, PNC Corporate, the Benter Foundation, and Wyndham Tryp Hotel.
About Paradigm Gallery
Paradigm Gallery + Studio® was established in 2010 by co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston. The gallery exhibits meaningful, process-intense contemporary artwork from around the world. Paradigm Gallery is globally recognized and known as a tastemaker within the greater Philadelphia arts community. In 2022, the gallery announced the opening of its new 5-story 7,000 sq ft home in Old City, Philadelphia. Now open to the public, the new space boasts multiple floors of gallery space as well as in-house design and printmaking, which is incorporated as part of its gallery and art advisory services in collaboration with other creators of the Paradigm Arts Building. As the gallery grows, it maintains its original mission to keep art accessible and continues to be a champion of small businesses and emerging and mid-career artists.
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