Over the last four decades Cran has produced a wide-ranging, inquisitive body of work that knowingly samples from many prior movements in art history such as Pop Art, Photorealism, Modernist Abstraction and Op Art, often collapsing one into the other in a single painting. The axis or spine of his painterly inquiries is perception itself, the mechanics of it, and of the brain's perpetual effort to distill meaning from form and pattern. Beginning with a now well-known series of meta self-portraits from the 80s where the artist painted himself as a naive, hustling artist, often deliberately confusing the picture plane of surface and scene, Cran then began embedding the strategies of Op Art within the pastoral and the portrait. Subsequent series have included lush, elegant abstractions that morph with the viewer's position and optically evasive Frame paintings that suggest infinite depths around elastic borders. In nearly every instance Cran seems able to pictorially suggest situations that tamper with our perception of what we are apprehending. His work, as diverse as it has become, all rests on an authentic, open-hearted, often disarmingly funny, query into how the eye and the brain synthesize the world. Nancy Tousley has written that “Cran’s analysis of the rhetoric of painting is as clear-eyed as it is unsentimental about painting’s present condition. At the same time, he reaffirms revelation, beauty and new ways of seeing as jobs that painting can still do. Painting itself might be a commodity but in Cran’s work perception and beauty are non-consumable and fluid.”