KEN craft: departmental standard on empathy displacement and universal salvage
June 18 - July 23, 2023
Ro2 Art is proud to present Ken Craft: Departmental Standard on Empathy Displacement and Universal Salvage, an exhibition featuring deeply personal and possibly distressing paintings in a variety of media. The show will run from June 18 through July 23, 2022 at Ro2 Art in The Cedars, located at 1501 S. Ervay St, Dallas, TX, 75215. Further, an opening reception will take place Saturday, June 18 from 7-10pm.
Motivated by his experiences as a firefighter, Ken Craft has developed a body of work around his love and compassion for our world while further exploring the scars life leaves on us all, both mentally and physically. In a job where the only certainty is putting his body on the line to save the lives of others, Craft is prompted to explore how life requires we all put ourselves on the line for what we cherish, and the discomfort which comes from taking those risks. He explores the mutual compassion for his occupation and the world around him, asking his audience to reconsider their idea of empathy. As an artist his work proves to be a manifestation of these complex relationships between safety and sacrifice, his personal and primary reason for these choices being love.
This work is about caring for things. Caring for the natural world. For my family and my pets. And caring for myself. It’s about being an artist and a firefighter and searching for balance between the demands of these 2 very different disciplines. The work also explores notions of injury and death in ways that are personal.
In the fire service, we have lots of protocols, directives, and standard operating procedures (SOP’s). These things give guidance across a multitude of emergencies. Not every emergency but most. They’re designed to protect victims and rescuers and property. I have a few imaginary standards I’ve dreamt up that serve a bigger picture. These new standards give consideration not just to people but to all living things. Empathy for the natural world shifts us away from our own interests. The scales tilt a little and we find many more things in our world to care about and understand and protect.
about the artist
Born in New Mexico in 1967, Ken Craft is an artist based in Dallas, TX.
His work reflects an interest in representational scene painting alongside cartoon storytelling. He’s influenced by the French Realism painter Gustave Courbet, cartoonists Art Spiegelman and George Herriman, contemporary artist Gerhard Richter, and as of late Philip Guston.
Craft himself has existed in two worlds for over 27 years now; maintaining his career as a professional firefighter while painting as often as he can. He has been in numerous group exhibits over the years in Dallas and has had 3 solo exhibits there. In June 2015, he exhibited 3 paintings in a juried exhibit at Artspace 111 in Ft. Worth, TX and was awarded the Top Choice prize. In the fall of 2019, he received a residency at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. He paints more these days and is looking forward to becoming a full time artist in the near future.