As the title of the exhibition denotes, Crosby’s loose, line-based compositions reverberate with movement. Painting on a thin laminate ground mounted onto aluminium enables the artist to move freely across the surface of his works. Constructed through a repetitive process of adding and redacting, areas of sparsity are interrupted by patches of densely overlapping brushstrokes. This contrast builds up a friction between the different layers of paint, lending the works their characteristic freneticism. Variations in colour also draw our attention to pockets of depth within the work, where highlights of pigment emerge from the underlying layers of mark-making.
Christoph Schreier, Director of Kunstmuseum Bonn, explains: 'There once was a time when painting had to justify its own existence. Fortunately, this time is over and painting can refer to its own qualities, enormous sensual potential and almost physical directness again without the pressure for legitimisation. Clem Crosby’s oeuvre also owns these qualities while at the same time his works are infused with a deep knowledge of painting’s history. Crosby is anything but a naive painter who thinks he can reinvent painting. His art rather reflects the knowledge of baroque art and abstract expressionism – to name only two points of reference. Yet, he never quotes history, but continues it in a highly reflective manner. As we can see, the “old” medium of painting can reinvent itself too – provided that it knows its own history.'
Crosby’s work has also been included in several large-scale museum exhibitions, including A New Modernism, Southampton City Art Gallery; About Vision: New British Painting in the 90s, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; Contemporary Art at the Courtauld Institute, London; Fact and Value-New Positions in Painting, Kunsthal Charlottenborg; Minimalism: Then and Now, UC Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley; Vivid: British and American Abstract Art, Mead Gallery, Warwick Art Centre; and Tate Britain Drawing Symposium. His work is represented in the collections of Tate, London; UC Berkeley Museum, CA; LA Microsoft, USA and the Leeds Art Gallery, UK.
Crosby generated considerable attention with his large-scale public commission 180 Monochrome Paintings, the yellow panels of which constitute the façade of London’s Young Vic Theatre. Created between 2004 and 2006, 180 Monochrome Paintings was commissioned as part of a major architectural renovation that received the 2007 RIBA Award.