Crowe’s beguiling work has earnt her widespread critical acclaim. She is recognised as one of the most significant contemporary painters working in Scotland today, with an impressive and multifaceted career spanning some fifty years. She divides her time between Scotland and Venice, undertaking new projects and continuing to work with seemingly inexhaustible vigour.
This exhibition will include a series of new paintings completed by Crowe in Venice, Edinburgh and the small Scottish town of West Linton, situated just south of the capital. There will also be a number of works on paper relating to two major projects which have occupied the artist’s attention since 2014. Firstly, the preparatory drawings which won her the prestigious commission to design a decorative frieze for the new hall of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers in the City of London. And secondly, a collection of sketches completed for a collaborative project in which the artist was invited to create an animated backdrop for an operatic performance of Schubert’s lieder ‘Winterreise’, staged at Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh and at the Wigmore Hall in London.
Crowe’s latest paintings, six large canvases in total, draw upon a rich iconography amassed over years spent in the two disparate settings. Whether on the canals of Venice or immersed in the wild outdoors of east Scotland, she produces captivating work of a distinctly lyrical charm continually introducing novel techniques and compositions.
In spite of this innate ingenuity, Crowe’s recent work retains the familiar markers of her hypnagogic style; the ethereal quality of the landscapes, the scenery overlaid with intricate, organic forms, and her characteristically rich and smouldering palette. Elements are lifted directly from her immediate surroundings and seamlessly married to those teased from memory to produce intriguing narratives. Though perplexing at times, the paintings offer a compelling glimpse into Crowe’s fertile imagination. Her work is an ocean of past, present and future emotion and experience, laid bare in luminous shades of amber, crimson, burnt umber and azure blue. Intended meaning is often shrouded in the sheer complexity of the layered forms, and yet it retains clarity of form and expression.
The variety of media represented in this exhibition, ranging from pencil and charcoal, to watercolour, oil and silkscreen, demonstrates Crowe’s versatility as an artist. Furthermore, her preparatory sketches for ‘A Parallel Journey’ and the tapestry design for the Leathersellers’ Dining Hall (measuring a staggering 1.3 x 40 metres) reveal her innately perceptive and sensitive approach. Indeed, the sheer scale of her contribution to both projects and her ambition as a modern painter, show her to be an artist of enduring relevance and tenacity, whose unwavering work ethic has allowed her to produce some of her most beautiful and arresting work to date.
An illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition. All works will be offered for sale.