Rebecca Crowell Artist Biography

Since earning her MFA in painting from Arizona State University in 1985, Rebecca Crowell has led a life focused on painting. When not traveling from her home in rural Wisconsin for teaching or to attend artist residencies she works almost daily in her studio. She draws significant influence from her experiences abroad, as well as from the surroundings of her winter home in northern New Mexico. The coast of County Mayo, Ireland has been a particularly important location for her; she returns each year to teach and paint.

Artist Statement 

Painting to me is a way to process meaningful experiences, a path to discoveries, and an attempt to connect soul-to-soul with those who appreciate my work. Certain moments and impressions seem to capture an essence of a place, time. or feeling. Tapping into these memories leads to my abstract vocabulary of color, texture, line and shape. While my work is highly personal and linked to my own experiences, I hope that it also expresses a more universal connection to nature and to our humanity. For years I have pointed to wild, rugged landscape to be the primary source of my imagery, but recently my interest has expanded to include architectural references and objects as well as purely abstract elements. Abstracting from landscape taught me what I wanted my paintings to be—strong yet nuanced, bold yet intricate, possessing a quiet, contained energy—yet now there are also new paths to those ends that I am excited to explore. I’ve been painting professionally for over 30 years and remain challenged and energized by my process. My primary medium is oil paint mixed with cold wax medium, but I also enjoy printmaking and water-based media. I work with a balance of spontaneity and careful editing, moving back and forth from intuitive flow to thoughtful analysis. My aim is to achieve structural integrity and strength through the accumulation of contrasting bold and quiet passages and nuanced surfaces. 

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.

Athough 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 review in - 2010

Lynette Haggard Art Blog

Rebecca Crowell: Artist Interview ( August 2010)

Lynette (LH): Rebecca, can you share with my readers a little about yourself? Where did you grow up were there any early influences on your work?

Rebecca: I've lived in a rural area of Wisconsin for over thirty years. My husband and I have 40 acres of land, and my studio, a large, well-insulated utility building, is behind the house. It's clearly a workspace, not at all pristine or neat! I love it because it's large enough for me to work on many panels at the same time, which is part of my process. I grew up in many areas of the country, because my father's job was to manage large construction projects like tunnels and dams—things that take only a year or two to complete. I identified myself as an artist from an early age, always making things and drawing.

LH: Did you receive any formal art training? At what point in your life did you become interested in making art?   Continue reading.

Rebecca Crowell at Thomas Deans Fine Art, Atlanta by John Seed for Huffington Post (March 2016)

The paintings of artist Rebecca Crowell, whose work is on view at Thomas Deans Fine Art in Atlanta in Interplay, a dual show with Jeri Ledbetter, are the end result of many processes—including looking, seeing and feeling—all spread out over time. “Many ideas and images pass through my mind as I paint,” Crowell observes: “The passage of time and aging, the accumulation of experience, the symbolic and visual aspects of natural processes including stratification, collapse, compression: the ephemeral marks that people leave behind.”  Continue reading.

John Seed's Ten Memorable Paintings from 2014, Huffington Post (December 2014)

"Rebecca Crowell has what Richard Diebenkorn and Agnes Martin had: the ability to let the landscape come through her."

From HuffPost Arts and Leisure. Read the article here.

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