Lewis J. Crawford is a mixed media photographer/artist and an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) for the University of Utah. He considers Salt Lake City, UT his home, but is proud to be a fourth-generation Arizona native and second-generation Arizona artist. In 2009 he earned an MFA in photography from the University of Utah and in 2005 a BFA in photography from Arizona State University, graduating summa cum laude. He has had several solo exhibitions throughout the West, most notably at the Gallery at Main, and Finch Lane Gallery, both in Salt Lake City, and Modified Arts in Phoenix, AZ. He has been part of numerous juried and group exhibition nationally and internationally. He is an award recipient for the 44th Annual Bountiful Davis Art Center Statewide Competition, in Bountiful, UT, and the 26th Annual McNeese Works on Paper Exhibition, at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA. In 2014, he was nominated for the Faculty Teaching Award for Excellence in General Education at the University of Utah for his Writing for New Media course. His work is part of the permanent collections of McNeese State University, the Etsy corporation, and numerous private collections. He defines his research and artwork as Marktitious Imagery—a semiotic examination into the reassignment of marks found in a human-made landscape.
Current Research - Constructs:
Light bounces off objects, is focused through our eyes and translated in our brains. Visual psychologists describe this process of stimuli translation as a construct of the mind. When we look at a photograph, we do the same thing, but our view of information is limited. We don’t receive all the stimuli. What about the information outside of the edge of the photography? The negative space around the edge of an image is just as important as the image itself. The shapes, marks, and forms within the photographic frame, the ones that fascinate me, want to be transformed. They want to extend beyond the edge. They know they are just the beginning of a narrative. The viewer will see and interpret the meaning based on what is provided to them. With more information than just what is inside the picture’s edge, the viewer can explore their imagination, creating their own constructs.
By focusing on Gestalt theories, the psychology of visual perception, and Russian Constructivism ideas of minimalism, I construct images using a camera, printer, and plotter to draw, cut and emboss the final compositions. I want the viewer to make connections between shape and form, positive and negative space, and the relationship between signifier and signified.
My Overall Art Practice:
Marks fascinate me. I call all my artwork Marktitious Imagery. It is a semiotic reassignment of marks found in a human-made landscape. Everyone leaves marks, both physically and emotionally. The ones that interest me the most are overlooked marks: a random strip of duct tape, a buffed-out graffiti tag or a crack in an unused public square. None of these marks would be there unless someone made the landscape for them to inhabit. I document these urban landscapes. I mix media and marks. I see stories in these marks. Sometimes I layer these marks. Sometimes I create the marks that go onto my photographs. Sometimes I emphasize negative space. Layers fascinate me. The build-up and juxtaposition of information create texture, depth, and inter-connectivity. I like to confuse the semiotics of the marks. The signifier does not necessarily define the signified. Fact and fiction merge. It is mechanical and digital. It is balance. It is a transformation through documentation and manipulation, appropriation, deconstruction and reconstruction – sample, photograph, re-mix, layer, sample, and re-mix again.
It just depends on the marks.
Visual Perception: Constructs, Series II, Bountiful Davis Art Center, Bountiful, UT.
Geometry from Public Space, The Gallery at Library Square, Salt Lake City, UT.
Constructs, Finch Lane Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT.
Sidewalk Shadow Creatures, Universe City, Ogden, UT.
Photograffiti, Copper Palate Press, Salt Lake City, UT.
Factitious: Rivers & Glaciers, Alvin Gittins Gallery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.
Markmaking: SLC2007, Modified Arts, Phoenix, AZ.
Markmaking: MetroPhoenix2006, Modified Arts, Phoenix, AZ.
After His Death, the Only Thing Found…, BrandX, Tempe, AZ.
Markmaking: England2005, Modified Arts, Phoenix, AZ, and BrandX, Tempe, AZ.
Juried, Invitational and Group:
Communities: West IV, Portfolio exchange and traveling exhibition: RMPA 2019, Salt Lake City, UT.
Utah ’18: Craft, Photography, & Video/Digital, Rio Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - juried
Site Lines: Recent Work by University of Utah Art Faculty, Utah Museum of Fine Art, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation and juried
44th Annual Bountiful Davis Art Center Statewide Competition, Bountiful Davis Art Center, Bountiful, UT - juried
Communities: West III, Portfolio exchange and traveling exhibition: RMPA 2018, Pullman, WA; Montana Art Museum, Missoula, MT; SaltGrass Printmakers, Salt Lake City, UT; Fromgan’s Print Workshop, University of Nebraska; Exit Gallery, Bozeman, MT.
Utah'16: Statewide Annual, Mixed Media & Works on Paper, Rio Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - juried.
Art Through the Lens, Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, KY. - juried
Phase(s), Alvin Gittins Gallery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation
#FairGame, collaborative art installation with Chance Clouse, part of coLaborART at The Leonardo, Salt LakeCity UT. - invitation
Westminster Faculty Art Exhibition, Tanner Atrium, Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation
New Narratives: Recent Work by U of U Art Faculty, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation and juried
Strange Bedfellows, collaborative art installation with Stefanie Dykes, part of CoLaborART, The Leonardo, Salt Lake City UT. - invitation
26th Annual McNeese Works on Paper Exhibition, Abercrombie Gallery, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA. - juried
Light Sensitive, Art Intersection, Gilbert, AZ. - juried
A Token Gesture, IMPACT 8, University of Dundee, Scotland; Rocky Mountain Print Alliance Symposium, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Javelina Innovation Lab during the Ranch Hand Festival in Kingsville, TX; McAllen Public Library, McAllen, TX; Gallery 107, Lone Star Studios, San Antonio, TX. - invitation
Between the Lines: University of Utah Art Faculty Invitational, Loge Gallery, Pioneer Theater, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation
The Sketchbook Project 2013, Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn, NY; Co-Lab Project Space, Austin, TX; The Goat Farm Art Center, Atlanta, GA; The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, Portland, OR; San Francisco Center for the Book, San Francisco, CA; lamb8bit, Los Angeles, CA. - group
Birds: Real or Imagined, PhotoPlace Gallery, The Online Gallery Annex, Middlebury, VT. - juried
2012 Craft & Photography Exhibition, Statewide Annual Competition and Exhibition, Rio Grande Depot Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - juried
The Faculty Show: Recent Work by The University of Utah Art Faculty, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation
Box Paper Scissors, Kayo Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - group
Mixed Media & Works on Paper Statewide Annual Competition and Exhibition, Rio Grande Depot Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - juried
Saans Gallery Juried Exhibition, Saans Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - juried
Snap to Grid, Los Angeles Center For Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA. - group
The PDA Show, No Brow Coffee, The Utah Pride Center, Ken Sanders Rare Books, Alchemy Coffee and Kayo Gallery, all exhibition locations in Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation
Signs of the Times, IMPACT 6 Print Conference, Bristol, England, UK. - invitation
The Great Art House Print Exchange 2, Art House Gallery, Atlanta, GA. - group
Global Implications, Southern Graphics Council Conference 2009, Chicago, IL. - group
Utah 2009: Crafts and Photography Exhibition, Statewide Annual Competition and Exhibition, Rio Grande Depot Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - juried
24Hour ’09, Kayo Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - invitation
Becoming the Machine, warehouse space temporarily transformed into a gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. - group
Going South, Provo City Library, Provo, UT. - invitation
Pre and Post, Canyon Community Center, Springdale, UT. - group
24Hour ’08, Kayo Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT. -group
Equinox, Galleryuaf, Salt Lake City, UT. - group
Friday April 13th, BrandX, Tempe, AZ. - invitation
Grants and Awards:
Third Place in the 44th Annual Bountiful Davis Art Center Statewide Competition, Bountiful Davis Art Center, Bountiful, UT
Nominated for the Faculty Teaching Award for Excellence in General Education at the University of Utah.
McNeese Student Art Association Purchase Award recipient for the 26th Annual McNeese Works on Paper Exhibition.
Finalist for the Ethel Armstrong Rolapp award.
The Bethel E. Ells Art Scholarship
“Film Ghosts Achieve New Narrative in Justin Chouinard’s Appendages of Sense,” 15 Bytes, September 2018 edition.
"Behind the Proscenium: Georges Rouault's Circus of the Shooting Star Comes to Town,” 15 Bytes, March 2012 edition.
Reviews, Critiques and Video Coverage:
“Fun in Public Spaces: Lewis J. Crawford and Phoebe Berrey at the Gallery at Library Square,” by Geoff Wichert, for 15 Bytes, December 2016 edition.
"Drawing Outside the Frame," by Scotti Hill, 15 Bytes, May 2016 edition.
“Making Museums Fun for Families: UMFA Celebrates 100 Years of Art,” By Carole Mikita and Sara Jarman, KSL 5TV.
“Surface Treatments: Tokens for Today,” by Nancy Moyer, The Monitor, May 5, 2014.
"Surface Treatments: Tokens for Today,” by Nancy Moyer, The Monitor, May 5, 2014.
26th Annual McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition Catalog.
Art Intersection website, Light Sensitive 2013 – Celebrating Images From The Darkroom exhibition page.
Birds: Real or Imagined, Exhibition Catalog. PhotoPlace Gallery, San Francisco: Blurb Books, 2012.
Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 4, 2010 edition.
M.F.A. Photography, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.
B.F.A. Photography, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Graduated summa cum laude.
2013 - Present
Assistant Professor (Lecturer). Dept. of Art & Art History, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.
2009 - 2016
Adjunct Instructor. School of Arts and Sciences, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT.
2009 - 2013
Associate Instructor. Dept. of Art & Art History, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.