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Rosson Crow

Next year at Marienbad
November 21, 2020 - January 30, 2021
Cloître Saint-Merri, Paris










Galerie Nathalie Obadia is delighted to present Next Year at Marienbad, California-based artist Rosson Crow’s fourth exhibition. Her last show in Paris had taken place in 2013. Born in Dallas, in 1982, the artist graduated from the New York School of Visual Arts (2005) and Yale University (2006), and lives in Los Angeles, where she has been developing a pictorial work that has always been considered to be a powerful and pertinent contribution to the West Coast’s artistic scene.

The exhibition comprises a group of recent immersive paintings, each steeped in a nostalgic atmosphere, with superimposed impressions and touching reminders of the film L’année dernière à Marienbad by Alain Resnais (1961), a masterpiece from the French New Wave, which the artist cites as one of her main artistic references. Rosson Crow recognizes in this literary film, described as a “waking dream,” themes that are important to her: the fundamentally ambivalent character of reality, memory, experiential confusion and the multiple layers of interpretation that derive from them. By projecting this universe into a saturated future, with psychedelic colors and invasive ornamentations, Rosson Crow navigates between utopia and dystopia, at a time when the planet is threatened by our massive overconsumption: “In a way, the paintings are about the collective hubris of humanity, our bad behavior, inheriting a dream world and destroying it.

Fascinated by the fragmentation of the narrative structure that is unique to Nouveau Roman and implemented in Alain Resnais’s film, and by all the enigmatic opacity it exudes, Rosson Crow also works on a type of anachronism and spatial confusion: times, resuscitated places are superimposed in compositions that are at once explosive and elegiac.

On top of the cinematographic background, there is also a particular inclination for luxurious décor and classical furniture, a taste for 17th and 18th century style. During her residency at the Cité des arts in Paris, in 2006, Rosson Crow visited numerous French chateaux, townhouses and luxury hotels, which would inspire a series of painted interiors, whose spirit is present in her paintings Redecorating the Study and Levitations in the Powder Room, both on show. Not surprisingly, the artist was sensitive to the baroque and old-world magnificence of the luxury hotel in which Alain Resnais’s film is set, where the mirrors, stucco, wood paneling, plants, statues and trompe-l’oeil become the ambiguous theater of an unsolvable intrigue. In response to this extremely decorative sophistication, Rosson Crow employs a multitude of motifs, ornamental and artificial details, through which she transmits a certain vision of excess, vanity and hubris – true to what she seems to detect in the « grand style ».

These European influences find themselves, furthermore, blended with an aesthetic inspired from the “American way of life,” Rosson Crow’s work having always been more intimately linked to American cultural history. A sign of a melancholy connection to time, the chromatic palette chosen by the artist, acidulous, fluorescent hues, almost “faded” in places, transport us to the world of 1960s album covers, vintage postcards, a sort of “California Dream” that is not without some shadowy areas. Let us, in particular, mention See Destruction! (Not Responsible for Accidents), whose hallucinatory effervescence is extremely emblematic. In this same vein, the cactus, abundant in Rosson Crow’s work, where it stands as a pop motif and lends itself to all her dreams, summons a fantasy world linked both to the wide open American land and to psychotropic substances, to Texan and Californian landscapes with which she is familiar, and to a counter-culture that made it their emblem.

This work around remembrance and memory can be found in certain elements such as the soda cans, a hat, miniature busts of antique statues, posters or newspapers spread out here and there. The pictorial treatment accentuates this temporal shift even further: with great virtuosity of technique, the artist turns to adhesive tape, spray paint, photographic transfers, drips, transparencies and chromatic gradients that reinforce the faraway and nostalgic connotation of her work.

Rosson Crow asks herself about Marienbad, which she perceives as the location of a thwarted, overturned utopia. The film on romantic incommunicability progresses, in fact, through a tortuous, somber and hypnotic atmosphere, where life appears frozen, spectral. The same dystopian sentiment fills the places she paints, straddling different temporal planes, different universes: places that are devoid of any animate presence, territories invaded by nature that reclaims its rights, by an accumulation of artifacts and human trash, vestiges of a frenetic and wasteful activity. “As always, I am interested in ways that space can reflect our psychology [...]. The paintings depict a utopia blown up, a fantasy world turned inside out and upside down. The confusion of modern life, layered and strange, surreal disruptions in the spatial continuum.

Demonstrating great control on her craft, Rosson Crow pushes the springs that are specific to painting to their breaking point, thus translating an anxiety, an overabundance, an oversaturation that are emblematic of our time: “the surreal nightmare experience of modern existence,” she says about Alain Resnais’s film.

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Born in 1982 in Dallas (Texas, USA), Rosson Crow lives and works in Los Angeles (California, USA).

Rosson Crow graduated from Yale University, New Haven, (MFA obtained in 2006), and from the School of Visual Arts, New York (BFA obtained in 2004). The artist was in residency at the prestigious Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2006. She is part of the emerging artist generation of the young contemporary arena both in the US and in Europe.

Rosson Crow’s work was featured in important solo exhibitions such as Westification at the MOCA in Tucson (USA, 2018), Rosson Crow at the Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain de Sérignan (France,2014), Art district at the Royal Monceau in Paris (France, 2014), Reconstruction at Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris (France, 2013), Myth of the American Motorcycle at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (USA, 2010), Paris, Texas at Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris (France, 2009), FOCUS: Rosson Crow at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (USA, 2009), With Love, from Texas at Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris (France, 2005).

She benefited from major exhibitions in many renowned institutions, namely Highlights from the Permanent Collection at the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth (USA, 2016), The Neon Wilderness: Voices from Los Angeles at The Conversation in Berlin (Germany, 2016), Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh (USA, 2011), Invited Room at the Royal Academy of London (United Kingdom, 2010), Le Meilleur des Mondes at the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean (Luxembourg, 2010), New York Minute at the Macro Future Museum in Rome (Italy, 2009), Out of Storage I – Peintures Choisies de la Collection at the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Luxembourg, 2008).

Rosson Crow has a strong presence in prestigious public and private collections. Her artworks are notably displayed at the Musée d’Art Moderne of Fort Worth (USA), at the Carré d’Art – Musée d’art contemporain de Nîmes (France), at the MUDAM - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean (Luxembourg), as well as at the Zabludowicz Collection (United Kingdom).