• Rebeccca Crowell to hold workshop at K Bay Campus this weekend
By Randi Somers
A multi-media show is being presented at the Pratt Museum starting this week and continuing through the summer and early fall.
The new show in the special exhibits gallery of the Pratt, “Beneath the Surface” explores the beauty and mystery of archaeology through abstract paintings by Rebecca Crowell and artifacts excavated on the Kenai Peninsula. Crowell’s art was inspired by archeological maps of sediment layers. It will remain in place through Sept. 29.
New York City composer David Crowell’s original music score accompanies the visual display of Rebecca Crowell’s paintings paired with artifacts from the Pratt collection. This is an unusual multi-senses presentation for the Museum.
Since 2002 Crowell has been working with cold wax medium and oil, according to her website, after earning her MFA in painting from Arizona State University in 1985, she has led a life “focused on painting.”
Crowell has worked almost daily in her studio in western Wisconsin taking time out only for travels and painting in England, Spain, the Western United States and the Canary Island of Lanzarote.
In the fall of 2011, she was an artist in residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annamaghkerrig in Ireland. Crowell is represented in fine art galleries in New Mexico, Colorado, Toronto and Wisconsin. She has recently signed with an agent to represent her in Ireland and the UK and was featured in an exhibit in Dublin, Ireland in October of 2011.
She uses a kind of “memory mapping” to create her works which, although visually quite abstract, often still retain faint echoes of landscape and nature; its plant life, earth and rocks. For Crowell rugged textures, earthy colors and a feeling of light, open spaces reveals her subliminal interest in the colors, mark-making and abstraction of at least a “memory” of landscape.
Although her work is generally quiet, orderly and meditative in its finished form, her process of working in multiple layers, cutting, scratching and digging back can be quite violent. She couples sharp tools and aggressive “archaeology” with periods of careful editing and decisiveness. She considers the place of any fortunate accidents and random occurrences.
Above all, she has learned to “trust the process.”
She writes: “The goal in my process is not to render something in paint, but to allow the paint to suggest a path through the work as it develops. I remain in charge of what to keep and what to discard and how to structure and organize the image.”
A commentator on Crowell’s website says, “Crowell is an artist of considerable talent and stature and it is not difficult to envisage a major breakthrough into the mainstream of the American art scene in the very near future. Recent international representation would indicate that her future reputation will not just be limited to America.”
Crowell’s work is displayed in galleries around the country and abroad. In conjunction with her show, Crowell will give an Oil and Wax Painting Workshop at Kachemak Bay Campus, this weekend, Aug. 9-11.
“The workshop is very popular and it’s full already,” Kachemak Bay Campus University Director Carol Swartz said. Participants will explore methods of building up abstract paintings in layers, using cold wax medium, tube paint, powdered pigments and other media.
They will experience new ways to create textures, lines and color fields using a variety of tools and techniques. Emphasis is on cold wax medium and exploration and experimentation with the process.
For more information call Kachemak Bay Campus 234 7743.
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