Father and son put Cape Girardeau on display

Friday, August 6, 2004

When approached by the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri about holding an exhibit of his photography, David Crowe thought it was only natural to include his son, Taylor, in the exhibit.

Of course, Taylor Crowe is an artist in his own right, but one who uses a brush instead of a camera in his work. David Crowe said there are other, more subtle differences between his work and his son's.

"I enjoy the challenge of seeking new ways to look at things. As a result, a lot of my landscape photography ends up occurring on the edges of the day when the light is fleeting or diminished or when the weather is changing. Taylor, on the other hand, is much more direct. He can take a scene in the brightness of midday and show you the fullness and color of what has always been in front of you in a way you've never quite looked at it before," David Crowe said.

In a few weeks, Taylor Crowe will enter his second year at the California Institute of the Arts, where he is studying to be an animator.

David Crow said his son showing artistic leanings from a very young age.

He remembers an early car ride when Taylor looked out at the snow-covered landscape and said, "Look, dad, the shadows of the trees in the snow are blue."

"That's when you know someone's an artist because they're noticing something most people don't," David Crowe said.

David Crowe also showed an early interest in the arts and became seriously involved in photography when he was in his late teens. Although he went onto become an orthodontist, David Crowe never stopped taking photos and his office is a semi-gallery of his works.

Most of his works are landscapes, which David Crowe said he gravitated toward because landscapes allow him to "capture the essence of a place at a certain moment."

The seven photographs on display at the arts council exhibit intend to capture the essence of Cape Girardeau, a place David Crowe, a Cape Girardeau native, said is full of visual possibilities for an artist. There is interesting architecture in the city and places that change dramatically with the season, he said.

"Cape Girardeau has a lot of possibilities. There are so many things that can be done with Cape, not to mention the region," he said.

Two of the photographs on display at the arts council are part of a project depicting the four seasons in Cape Girardeau in locations that are within a 5-minute walk of David Crowe's office.

There is a shot of a flowering tree on Thilenius Street in the spring and a fall shot of a bench in Capaha Park.

"The change of seasons is invigorating. I don't think there's a prettier place in the world than this area in the fall and spring."

Another photograph shows a summer storm brewing over the Mississippi River from the vantage point of Cape Rock, and yet another is a bird's eye view of the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.

While an image of the then-brand new bridge may seem an obvious choice for a photograph, many of David Crowe's photographs are of scenes and subjects he may pass by every day going to work, which inspires a photograph because of the way the light is hitting it at a certain time of day.

"A lot of being an artist is learning how to see things. Without that you can't photograph it or paint it," he said.

Most of the photographs David Crowe has on display at the arts council are large in scale -- the largest is 4 feet by 6 feet.

"I like large pictures. I think the larger scale makes it easier to respond emotionally to the images," David Crowe said.

Taylor Crowe's watercolors were scanned and enlarged up to the size of his father's photographs. In enlarging the watercolors, David Crowe said "you can see how Taylor put the picture together," with the pencil marks and brush strokes visable. "I think it's very effective," David Crowe said.

Taylor Crowe has three watercolor paintings on display, two acrylic paintings and one charcoal sketch.

The watercolors on display at the arts council depict the Southeast Missourian building on Broadway, the Union Monument and Fountain in front of the courthouse and the B'nai Israel synagogue on Main Street. While some of Taylor Crowe's displayed paintings date back four years, he created some new works for the exhibit as well, including an acrylic of the downtown Cape Girardeau skyline.

Even though the two Crowes are focusing on the same city, artistically they represent that city in very different ways.

"Much of my photography involves simplification, the elimination of distractions to convey what I want the image to say. Taylor's work is very different from mine. He fills his canvases with details, colors and juxtaposition where I typically look for space, balance and simplicity. Because of this, the exhibit ultimately demonstrates two completely different ways of approaching the same subject," David Crowe said.


335-6611, extension 182

Want to go?

What: Opening reception for the David and Taylor Crowe exhibit

When: 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, 32 N. Main St.

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