Big skies and open land, hallmarks of the American West,
inspire contemporary artists as much today as they have for countless generations.
Stirred by this regional geography, Rosson Crow immerses viewers in her expansive, life-sized desert landscapes, which pulsate with electric color.
Within each painting, scattered detritus reflecting popular culture suggests a hidden narrative, waiting to be explored.
Thirteen years ago, Crow was named as one of 10 artists to watch in the Wall Street Journal article, The (23-year-) Old Masters.
At that time, her work focused on empty interiors reminiscent of movie sets.
“I’ve always loved film,” she confesses. Area audiences may remember her FOCUS exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2009, which featured these dramatic, nostalgia-tinged spaces.
“So much of my work comes out of my love of history, especially American history,” she explains. Rather than stay in the past, however, Crow’s work constantly moves forward.
The walls of the empty rooms in the earlier works have dissolved, stretching into the vastness of the Western landscape.
Telltale clues of a life left behind have remained a constant in her work. For this current body, she states, “I got the idea of people living on the fringes of society.”
And so, littered amid thickets of cacti, one finds the remnants of the modern-day hermits who may have lived there, the stories of their lives embedded within the debris.
Crow is literally plugged into history and contemporary culture while she works.
“I’m totally addicted to Audible. I’ve made it a New Year’s resolution to ‘read’ 52 books this year,” she reveals, adding, “I started with All the President’s Men followed by Fear.”
As someone obsessed with conspiracy theories, Rosson Crow the current political climate offers her so much to absorb.
It also adds relevance to her exploration of desert dwellers who live off the grid.
And as her work investigates the world through a unique lens, she is also drawn to literary reexaminations.
When we spoke, Crow had recently finished reading Madeline Miller’s novel Circe, with its re-imagined tale of the Greek goddess.
Rosson Crow Literature and film, she divulges, nurture her imagination the most. “I feel like I’m thinking less about other painters.
They’re always in the back of my mind but I’ve veered more towards writers or filmmakers,” she says.
Among her favorite authors is George Saunders, whose storytelling ability she particularly admires.
The filmmakers currently on Crow’s radar include Chloé Zhao, Yorgos Lanthimos, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Peter Greenaway.
The ability to create the layered, nuanced worlds portrayed in their films is reflected in Crow’s practice.
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