Text written by Ian Kiaer for Potlatch catalogue, de Ateliers, Amsterdam, 2016.
The canvas begins on the floor roughly cut to size, but even these early
dimensions are not fixed. It’s possible that cropping continues throughout
the process of painting, leaving the sense that what remains is nearly
always a fragment. The surfaces might then be walked on or paced
around, ensuring a soiling occurs before even the initial marks are brought
to bear. But there probably isn’t one way these paintings come to be.
There are the apparent pools of saturated paint where colour seeps
through from front to back allowing for either side to be considered for
further development. Then there are moments of dryness where only the
most tentative of lines draw out possible descriptions beside a certain
caking of impasto.
How those decisions are made, where eye and then hand respond to what
is already present seems to be at least part of what these paintings are
about. Yet for a particular motif to appear, whether of a primitive eye or
ancient tree or some other almost discernable figure, Crocker turns as
much to a novel like Ridley Walker or the album covers of 1970s and 90s
metal and folk as to more predictable notions of English landscape. There
is something of the b-side in his practice, where what might have been
included as an afterthought or minor experiment becomes of more interest
than the initial intention for the work. It’s an attitude that allows for an
openness that surprises both painter and viewer, resulting in a tone
reminiscent of the Eerie, Magick and Sigils.