Art Reviews for Ken Crook

Ken Crook is an exceptional artist who, over a 70-year career, has created oils, watercolors, sculptures and even political cartoons.  He displays a very distinctive style and is know for his wonderful use of color.  Over his long career, he has painted hundreds of images, which include exceptional portraits and a wide variety of beautiful landscapes.  His sculptures are fascinating and express deep emotional feelings to the onlooker.  I would be proud to have his art grace my own collection.  – Lance P. Laber, Executive Director, DeGrazia Foundation

In combing through Ken Crook’s website, I was immediately attracted to the editorial cartoons he so ably drew during his years with Long Island’s Newsday.  As a longtime journalist who dwelled in the opinion pages of the Oakland Tribune for almost 10 years, I appreciated the craftsman and humor about a time I remember so well.  Then, I began scrolling through Ken’s sculpture and painting site and became enamored with his work.  I found the Southwest artwork captivating.  He majestically  catches the stunning beauty of the Arizona landscape.  His sculptures, too, of famous people are easy to identify but with just enough originality to set them apart.  He is  truly a master artist.  – James W. Johnson, Emeritus Professor of Journalism, University of Arizona.

Multi-talented Ken Crook can be described as a colorist, painting realistically with sharply contrasting light and shadow – evoking the sensation of the harsh light and dry heat of the desert landscape.  His subject matter varies greatly, and his draftsmanship and technique are superb, as is attested by his paintings, “Dam Repairs,” “Kiln at Taos Reservation, New Mexico” and “Yosemite Falls.” His enjoyment of his travels and his compassion and interest in the indigenous people he has met are evidenced in his painting, “The Fire Is Out, Guatemala,” and “Old Indian.”  His love of nature is shown by “Bird of Paradise,” and his extraordinary “Pea Hen.”  Ken possesses the ultimate “artist’s eye,” which constantly roves to find the perfect light, the perfect composition, and the meaningful scene, and his finely tuned skills enable him to portray those signature moments in his life. – Carol Rosemond, Artist

Humanism in Dramatic Forms
by Malcom Preston

An antique shop, a boutique and a salon de coiffure may seem unlikely places for an extensive exhibition of sculpture, but spread throughout such shops in Great Neck are 50 or more plaster, epoxy cement, bonded bronze and bronze sculptures, plus a handful of pastels and acrylics.  They are the work of Kenneth Erie Crook.

Crook has exhibited extensively on Long Island, and his work is in some important collections, including those of President Nixon, former President Johnson and Sen. Jacob Javits.

In style and approach, Crook’s work recalls both Daumier and Rodin.  Like Daumier, Ken Crook served for years as an editorial cartoonist, turning out a daily drawing for the pages of Newsday.  

And again like Daumier, Crook’s work is firmly based in a humanistic expression.  There are many figures that deal with man’s agony and pain.  “The Soldier” for example, is a violently expressive work.  The figure is portrayed in a crucifixion-like pose, modeled so as to catch light as it flicks about the textured surface, and revealing amputated limbs; the work a stinging indictment of the horror of war.  “The Prisoner” shows us a black man, anguished and tormented, behind a series of bars.

Crook freely distorts his forms in order to gain increased emotional impact.  But not all these pieces deal with social issues.  In “Juggler”  for example, humor and wit take over.  But then, comedy and tragedy are closely related aspects of the human condition.

There is also a series of animal and bird sculptures, all of which capture something of the essence of each creature.  Another series is devoted to large-scale portraits of historical figures.

Crook’s sculpture is essentially traditional.  The sweep and impressionistic concerns of Rodin combine nicely with the boldness and spirit of Daumier.  To these, Crook adds his own substantive outlook.