Something about the West. Something about the space.
"Craig Roper's content-rich, process-oriented work is an ever-evolving landscape. Referencing the culture and ethos of The West, Roper considers himself a "landscape artist", and includes imagery and traces of road trips, guns, signage and the textures of the land to form an encyclopedia of The Great Plains. Moving beyond any singular media, he continually reworks old work into new. His intent is to move each piece so far beyond the original that it morphs into something else." -Alex Priest, The Bemis Arts Center. -May 2016.
Craig Roper in "Nebraska Rising"
On view through September 17, 2016
The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art
724 S. 12th St., Omaha, Nebraska
-by J. Fatima Martins for Art Move Magazine
"Conceptual installation artist and curator, Craig Roper, who's widely known for his "Photo Bundles," layered, mixed-media constructions which take the form of mini-agricultural geometric haystacks made of industrial man-made materials, continues his exploration into how the landscape has been altered by human intervention. In "Nebraska Rising" he is showing five of his most iconic and diverse pieces: "Dirty Shooter", "Paintings Crushed by Rocks, Stumps and Debris," "Photo Bundles," "Empire," and "Badlands."
In all his work, the prominent motif, either real or imagined, is always aggressive human trespassing upon the land. Roper creates his smart dialogues, which are sometimes quite poetic, with a serious comic awareness generating a cheeky and witty energy that often mystifies his audience. His installations are fragmented immersive interpretations evoking the act of passing through wide open spaces while carrying with you, leaving behind, or discovering the artificiality and constructs of civilization. He pulls out details and nuances that are often ignored, or highlights conspicuous features to generate anxiety and questions.
In installations such as "Paintings Crushed by Rocks,Stumps, and Debris" he's commenting on the ridiculousness of the formalist and academic art world itself while at the same time elevating his observations about the destruction of natural beauty. He's also a deep observer of contemporary culture, borrowing without judgement pop-culture motifs and transforming them into insightful and sometimes
uncomfortable narratives that spotlight the contemporary polemic against masculinity. There is a 'wild-west' feel to Roper's work that is coupled with a raw urban aesthetic. Roper engages the fine-line between primitivism and fine-art. The ugly is beautiful to him. His work is a powerful slow burning mixture of studied planning and involuntary emotionality."
-J. Fatima Martins Oct. 2016, Art Move Magazine.