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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Sunday, March 11, 2018
  my current exhibit
Crossing, 48"x 72", oil on panel

In many years of exhibiting my work there are certain shows that stand out for me, and my  current exhibit (through April 11, with sculptor Christian Burchard) at Telluride Gallery of Fine Art in Telluride, CO is one of those. It's the debut showing for a body of work in a new direction--overall a more stark and angular approach than in the past. It's still very recognizable as my work--I've kept the intricate textures and layers that I've been working with for years, and organic form still sometimes dominates--but the approach and concept have gone through changes.


Light and Shadow, 42"x36" oil on panel, sculpture by Christian Burchard

My main interest now is in dualities--strength and fragility, organic and geometric, dark and light, subtle and bold, color and neutrality, held in dynamic balance.  This is a shift away from previous work that was generally tied to experiences in specific locations, based in memory, and often had a softer, more atmospheric sensibility. What I'm doing now deals with more universal and formal ideas about contrast and the balance of opposites.



Astir 48"x24" oil on panel

The changes in my work have been evolving over the past year and a half or more. At first they were subtle, then more insistent as my ideas began to shift. It's been an interesting journey finding my way-- I've had many frustrating days in the studio, fumbling for answers, older approaches no longer working for me. Yet I've been buoyed along as one after another painting was finally resolved. Each has been a learning experience, and the learning continues. (The triptych at the top of this entry took 7 weeks to complete.)


Ancient Site, 48"x24" oil on panel

The definite shapes in this work have posed the biggest challenges, because I've wanted to keep a sense of fluidity and not allow them to become too tight or solidified. I've also had doubts that such angular and defined shapes can really "be me" after years of using a softer approach. I have wondered where they came from and why they appeal to me so much. But looking back at earlier multiple panel work from 2002 through about 2012 I see that I do have a history with geometric shapes (as seen below in a painting from 2008.) I love the way that over time, earlier ideas can re-emerge in a new way.


Coast, 2008, oil on multiple panels

My new direction has surprised, challenged and even scared me a little, knowing that the work in my Telluride exhibit would be a noticeable departure from what I've shown in the past. (The show includes a couple of transitional pieces from my older style but overall the emphasis is on the newest work.) Considering my trepidation, it was really gratifying that the show has been so well received, with numerous sales and an exciting opening night. Lots of credit goes to the gallery for the spare and sensitive installation, and the beautiful co-ordination with Christian Burchard's wood sculpture--a very compatible pairing.



Passing Through #1 and #2, each 60"x b24", with sculpture by Christian Burchard
Change can be disorienting, but this review of my current show by Susan Viebrock for Telluride Inside and Out reminds me of my roots.

Crowell’s work is the result of a physically demanding, sometime violent process of layers that are scratched, eroded and dissolved to reflect what occurs naturally in the rugged landscapes she loves. Nevertheless her paintings feel quietly intense, almost Zen-like...Crowell’s spare but dense work seems tethered to spirituality.
...it becomes evident that Crowell believes in the transformative powers of art, the ability of a painting to conjure emotions such as happiness, love, beauty, perfection, as well as the experience of a return to childhood vision..

Despite the changes and new emphasis on the formal aspects of painting, my work retains its ties to landscape, memory and experience. This source is a constant and is aligned with my process of working with layers of organic and textured surfaces. Where the source takes me has changed, and will likely continue to change over time. 


Ascent, 42"X36" oil on panel

 
Comments:
Powerful work. The sense of dualities is evident even before I read the post verbiage age.
 
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       Rebecca Crowell