Beyond the White Cube: Rosson Crow. Painter.

I stopped by Rosson Crow’s studio a few weeks ago as she put the finishing touches on a new series of paintings for her upcoming solo show at Honor Fraser.

Born in Texas, Rosson got her MFA from Yale and did a residency at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris before moving to LA in 2006.  Her paintings, which often pull from historical source material, have an edgy vibe that combines punk rock irreverence with rock star decadence.  Minimalist she is definitely not.  Same goes for her studio, a space in which I could’ve easily spent a few hours looking at all of her work (new and old) hanging and leaning against surfaces covered with art books, bumper stickers, magazine clippings and photos galore.  What’s always stood out for me is her use of bright and saturated colors.  In fact, on display in her studio are a few colorful paintings, which were translated into textile prints for Zac Posen’s designs, a high-profile art-meets-fashion collaboration that is now going into its fifth season.   Therefore, I was surprised to find a completely different kind of work when I walked in: a new group of powerful large-scale paintings with subdued, earthy and monochromatic color schemes.  I very much look forward to seeing all the new work hanging side-by-side in a white cube space.  And now, I will let this sneak peek speak for itself… (Pick up the May issue of Modern Painters to read my review of Rosson’s show.

Rosson’s paintings for Zac Posen

Yasmine Mohseni: Tell me about your upcoming exhibition. 

Rosson Crow: It is a show about American experiences, layers of history, and how we experience them.  It is an attempt to excavate the collective experiences of our historical trauma, and how these events are remembered or misremembered, experienced or imagined, layer upon layer.

Describe your style

I think to define an artists “style” is dangerous.  It is something amorphous that is always changing and evolving with you as you grow.  The moment you can pin it down, it is time to challenge it.  It is important to be fearless as an artist.

Why did you become an artist?

I don’t think it was so much a concrete decision, but more of a natural evolution from a creative child to studying art and eventually devoting my life to it.

Which single artwork in art history has inspired you the most?

Gericault’s “Raft of the Medusa”.  Life, death, passion, beauty, history and politics…you feel the struggle of life, the drama and the ecstasy of existence, all within one canvas.  If I’m allowed a novel, “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy.  These are works that really get to heart of things, of what matters.

Gericault's Raft of the Medusa, 1818-1819

Which artists (living or dead) do you find most inspiring?

Cormac McCarthy, Caravaggio, Manet, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Bernini, Bronzino, Courbet, Anselm Kiefer, Christopher Wool, Erskine Caldwell, Joan Didion, Georgia O’Keefe, Flannery O’Connor, Gericault, Willem de Kooning, Mark Bradford, John Steinbeck.

Rosson’s exhibition “Ballyhoo Hullabaloo Haboob” opens at Honor Fraser on February 25, 2012.

My review of the exhibition will be featured in the May issue of Modern Painters.


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