Denton Crawford

I was born in Ft. Leanard Wood, MO. and spent most of my childhood and adolescence between the southeastern United States, Germany, and England. I received my BFA from The University of South Florida in 2007, and my MFA in 2011 from The University of Georgia. I’ve exhibited work in California, Seattle, Buffalo, Rochester and at various galleries in the southeast. I work in a variety of materials and visual strategies, merging 2D and installation. Among other things, I enjoy hiking, being outdoors, and going on adventures with my 6-year-old. I currently live and work in Rochester, New York, where I teach a variety of fine art classes at The Rochester Institute of Technology.


My work investigates the relationship between mysticism and the absurd and how personal experience informs our understanding of each. Incorporating landscape and abstraction, combining reality with fantasy, and the ideal with the absurd, I create personalized accounts of experience that explore the boundaries between logic and belief. I like to think about how familiar objects and imagery can resonate with the viewer in ways that cannot be fully understood or codified, crafting a disembodied sensation. The work is fed by conflicting ideologies, presenting unnatural events or ephemera that seem at once enticing and suspicious. The hope is to set the stage for moments of experience informed by the viewers’ own relationship to the work. I want to give them a moment that they will not forget.

Ideas and visual cues are drawn from a wide range of sources. Mostly revolving around places I’ve lived or visited, these works portray moments from fictional narratives derived from various literature, art history, conflicting philosophies and personal adventures or misfortunes. My own photos and sketches, found imagery and objects, and art works throughout history all inform my visual narrative. The work is as much based on thoughtful research, as it is intuitive decision-making and playful speculation. Literary and philosophical influences include Albert Camus, Joseph Campbell, Agnes Martin and H.P. Lovecraft, among other works of literature and film.

My most recent paintings and sculptures are an exploration of the relationships between religious belief, political affiliation and individual rights and freedoms. Much of the impetus for this work is drawn from my adolescence and recent social and political events. Strange lights in the distance, metaphysical figures and objects, and obscure landscapes leave the viewer to build a dialogue with the work based on personal beliefs and experiences, allowing them to fulfill the narrative on their own terms. My hope is to draw the viewer into this altered space where they might suspend themselves in the moment, lingering in the work, and reexamine what they typically believe to be true.