press release

Honor Fraser is pleased to present BALLYHOO HULLABALOO HABOOB, Rosson Crow's second solo exhibition with the gallery. Exploring the intimate psychological and emotional dimensions of nationalistic collective memory, Crow creates a series of works that take as a point of departure the exuberance and sobering aspects of past and recent gilded eras. Known for her theatrical and lush paintings that often feature decadent interiors, this new investigation marks a shift in the artist's artistic process, tensely negotiating representational depictions and mnemonic interplay in painting. Rather than reproducing imagery associated with particular temporal and locational circumstances, the artist taps into mythologizing narratives, personal memories, and familial anecdotes to execute a psychoanalytic excavation of historical periods.

From Texas oil fields and bleak Dust Bowl towns, to celebratory tickertape parades, Crow's paintings are emblematic of American growth and decline. The exhibition's title in part implies the pitfalls of such self-congratulatory excitement. In the tickertape canvases, the skewed perspectives and atmospheric maelstroms of staccato brushstrokes push to a near-abstraction. Emptied of figures, these works only obliquely refer to specific historical references, and often contain little narrative coherence in terms of space and structure. In representing the actual event so abstractly, the attention no longer focuses on what is depicted, but rather the feeling of a distinctly American bravado and celebratory energy that teeters on the verge of disorder and chaos. The show's title also connotes the cyclical nature of American frenzy and loss with "haboob" (Arabic for huge sandstorm), which refers to both the Depression's Dust Bowl and the recent massive dust-storms of the southwest. Working with a much darker palette, these paintings chart the quiet forlorn mood that accompanies economic obsolescence.

Also included in this new series are paintings where Crow completely eschews the rich palette for which she is known in favor of a new, more reductive method of painting. In this process, the artist uses dyed fabric canvases and rapidly "paints" the surface with bleach. The result is a layered, gauzy effect that reveals traces of the work's making, just as the scenes invoke memories of the past. This accelerated painting process affords a looser, organic abstraction that highlights the unfussy, vigorous quality of Crow's style. Perspective and realistic representation are often all but eliminated in favor of vast expanses of gestural marks, or subtractions, that blanket the canvas. It is precisely these gestures and procedures of painting that evoke presence and feeling within a given space, and through this uncertain and imprecise method is a means to construct meaning

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Rosson Crow
Ballyhoo Hullabaloo Haboob