Label Text: A barefoot man tosses dice in Roadside Gambler, surrounded by flowers that miraculously blossom in an otherwise barren landscape. With clothing reminiscent of a prison uniform, the man seems down on his luck, but the expansive blue sky above suggests optimism. The man may be taking a risk, but not without high hopes.
Artist Karsten Creightney often depicts roadside landscapes that resemble the wide-open highways of his home state of New Mexico. To him, roads are a metaphor for life itself, representing the journey we each take from our own past to future. Creightney’s path has taken him from a B.A. at Antioch College in Ohio, to studies at the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque and then to an M.F.A. at the University of New Mexico.
After graduating from college, Creightney worked for a time as an art instructor at a juvenile detention facility. His experiences teaching incarcerated youth have likely influenced the themes of his artwork. A common image is a young man alongside a road, presumably at a point where he must pause and make a decision. In which direction will he go next?
The Roadside Gambler resembles this recurring figure. Unsure of the future and with no choice but to take a chance, he throws down the dice—in an effort to win back something lost? Perhaps he gambles to reclaim his freedom or his innocence—or maybe just his shoes. Roadside Gambler suggests that life’s journey continues, whatever the odds.