When Andie Hathcote Cronshey set sail with her husband Aaron on their boat El Tsoro, she had no clue her travels would take her to the rural Mexican village of El Guamachil. While there, she found inspiration in its townspeople. The form of her works is surprisingly simple, yet deeply ingrained with allegory and metaphor.
Cronshey’s works, entitled “Up and Down the Arroyo: Paintings from Mexico,” are currently on display in the Fred J. Taylor Memorial library. Her paintings depict citizens of El Guamachil going about their everyday lives. Through these plain slices of life, Cronshey manages to show something far deeper.
“I was taken aback by the youth. They’re so determined,” the artist explained. “They come from a place where they don’t even have running water, yet they manage to survive.”
Cronshey said she would often wander around the town looking for models which she would then sketch.
“I like to use real life,” she said. “I feel you lose some of the energy when working from a photograph.”
Although many of her portraits are of people she barely knew, Cronshey said her works are self portraits, if only in spirit. The painting “Eating on the Other Side,” which features two sheep behind a fence and one on the opposite side, has a very personal meaning.
“It’s not just three sheep,” she said. “The two sheep are me and my husband, the third sheep is my father-in-law who recently passed away. He’s eating on the other side.”
Cronshey said she had art classes about once a week in grade school. She started painting on cloth canvases borrowed from her father and grandfather’s upholstery shop. Now almost all her work is done exclusively on canvas. The next step in her evolution as an artist, text overlaying her images, came while she was in college.
Cronshey’s show runs until Sept. 22 in the library. A reception will be held Thursday Sept. 9 from 6 to 7 p.m
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© The Voice, 2004
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