Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What artists have influenced you ? Rebecca Crowell

Rebeccca Crowell is an artist who lives and works in the midwest. She is represented by Darnell Fine Art, Santa Fe; Circa Gallery, Minneapolis; Wilde Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Grace Chosy Gallery in Madison, WI and Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor (Door Co.)WI.

Slate Cliff, 60"x36" oil on panel 2009

I like what she says about her process:

To explain the process in a bit more detail, all of my paintings are carried out in an intuitive manner, with one thing leading to and suggesting another. I begin with a broad question or idea, which sets off a chain of events in the work-for example, I might start with a range of colors, certain kinds of marks or a compositional idea, but then allow each step along the way to influence my next move. I have my more cautious days when I do a lot of sitting and contemplating various possibilities, and also my more adventurous and impulsive days, when I might make a really radical shift or completely paint over or wash out whole areas. That is exhilarating-to get rid of something that wasn't working well, or was just "OK" in search of something truly good. After many painting sessions of all sorts, in the end I have made something I never imagined or envisioned. It's always like that-I end up in a very different place from where I started. My initial ideas were just jumping-off points for the journey that followed. At the same time, this process is not as random or unstructured as it may sound. I work within parameters that I've discovered over years of making art, that suit me--the individualized abstract language that I have developed, certain art materials and techniques that define my work as mine. These form a steady base from which I make my explorations.

Stones Along the Path 10" square, oil on panel Rebecca Crowell

"A few years ago I tried to pin down what has influenced my work, as part of an online art writing course. I started by randomly listing memories of exhibits, books, and speakers and people whose work I have been drawn to, and then I added other long-standing interests in my personal life, looking for what connections there might be. I learned that my influences have been far-ranging--from various media, styles and eras of art history—and that I have tended to be drawn to something for awhile and then move on. However, certain aspects of my various interests have continued to resonate for me, and have become part of an ever more complex mix. After sifting through all of my notes, I settled on a few general categories. This was helpful not only for seeing influences, but for defining some aspirations and goals for my work. A short version of my conclusions follows. (Artists and works of art listed under one topic often cross over into other categories.)

Warm Wall Outside 42 x36 oil on panel Rebecca Crowell

I’ve been influenced by:

1. work that is highly personal, idiosyncratic, or autobiographic. This includes many of the abstract impressionists, and the quilters of Gees Bend. Earlier on, I was very interested in artists like Frida Kahlo, Jonothan Borofsky, Phyllis Bramson, the Chicago imagists, and William Wiley. These artists influenced me more in their willingness to follow a strong inner vision than through their imagery or style.

2. cultures and situations in which art is intrinsically connected with spirituality, such as the Dreamtime paintings of Native Australian painters, ancient Egyptian art, cave paintings, petroglyphs, sculpture from various African cultures, and medieval illuminated manuscripts. I don’t claim to understand the complex cultural backgrounds of these influences but their power and presence is inspiring. I also respect the spiritual importance of the subconscious and attempt to allow this into my work.

3. the landscape, both as it has been depicted by many painters and photographers, and also as it exists before our eyes. The texture of lichen on a rock, the shape of clouds and flocks of birds in the sky, the ordered chaos of a patch of weeds—all kinds of images from nature influence my choices of color and texture and the degree of complexity I seek in my work. Specific artists that continue to inspire me include Andy Goldsworthy , many photographers of the American Southwest, and 19th century landscape painters such as George Inness and Corot.

4. in recent years, since my work has grown increasingly abstract and minimalist, I find myself appreciating simplicity and a certain spare quality more than in the past. For example, I like Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, Martin Puryear, James Turrell, and Antonio Tapies."


Sharon Barfoot said...

Rebecca is one of my favorite artsts as well Lisa. I was heavily influenced by the work of Judy Chicago and her Dinner Party installation that I saw in Toronto.

Diane McGregor said...

Very nice background on what influences Rebecca - she is one of my favorite contemporary artists; her work is disciplined as well as intuitive and spontaneous. It's interesting that I see those same qualities in a lot of the art she has chosen here as her major influences.

Stephanie Clayton said...

her work is quite contemplative, lush, quiet, raw, mysterious....aspects which make her work appealing to me.

i'm unfamiliar with her work, except for your post, so i'll do a little research to find out more.

thanks for featuring these wonderful artists on your blog.

Jaime Lyerly said...

Nice post on this artist. I will have to research her too. I love the description of her process which is both thoughtful and spontaneous. Plus, I share some of her influences such as Andy Goldsworthy, Frida Kahlo and Native American art. Wonderful!


Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

wonderful interview. I love her work and it's always so interesting to hear the thought process and influences behind it.

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