Since earning her MFA in painting from Arizona State University in 1985, Rebecca Crowell has led a life focused on painting. She has worked almost daily in her studio in western Wisconsin, with time out for travels and painting in England, Spain, the Western US, 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. Rebecca Crowell is represented by 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 has been awarded two Fellowships for 2013, in the spring at AIR Serenbe, near Atlanta, Georgia, and one at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, County Mayo, Ireland, in the fall.
Rebecca Crowell 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 colours, mark-making and abstraction of at least a "memory" of landscape.
Her process of working in multiple layers, cutting, scratching and digging back brings to mind the observation by Louis le Brocquy: "The painter, like the archaeologist, is a watcher, a supervisor of accident; patiently disturbing the surface of things until significant accident becomes apparent, recognising it, conserving this as best he can while provoking further accident. In this way a whole image, a whatness, may with luck gradually emerge almost spontaneously". This is Crowell's process too.
Although Crowell's work is generally quiet, orderly and meditative in its finished form, the production of the work can be quite violent with sharp tools and aggressive "archaeology" coupled with periods of careful editing and decisiveness - considering the place of any fortunate accidents and random occurrences.
Above all she has learned to "trust the process." Crowell has written: "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."
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.
John Loughrey - IrishArt.com - 2010
Beneath the Surface, Pratt Museum, Homer, AK (summer, exact dates TBA)
AIR Serenbe, near Atlanta, Georgia (March) Ballinglen Arts Foundation, County Mayo, Ireland (October-November)
Ballinglen Arts Foundation, County Mayo, Ireland (November)