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Rosson Crow "Smoke and Mirrors"

October 24, 2020 / November 21, 2020

Open Tuesday - Saturday from 11AM - 7PM


Best known for her seductive candy-colored history paintings, Rosson Crow presents a new body of lush interior and landscape works for Smoke and Mirrors at Over the Influence, Hong Kong. The exhibition is marked by sickly-sweet acid-toned washes over layered photo transfers, oil paint, and spray paint with images bleeding in and out of one another like a melted amassment of mementos. Crow’s palette of corrosive colors twists her compositions toward abstraction, heightening their hallucinatory perspectives. The commanding presence of her works is emphasized by not only the physical scale but also the theatricality of the compositions. Both draw the viewer into the frame as if becoming part of the scene, but the closer the viewer comes the more the illusion is disrupted by the painterly presence of Crow’s surfaces – the drips and splashes which jolt the viewer back into the gallery.

Smoke and Mirrors is an extension of previous bodies of work by Crow rooted in histories latent with nostalgia and anxiety. The hostile, distressed, and unequivocally apocalyptic mood she summons in her new paintings suggests that the anxieties of history have only been exacerbated today. This year of the pandemic, economic collapse, political strife, and environmental disaster are equally glossed over and accentuated in Crow’s psychological scenes – luxury juxtaposed with austerity, emptiness with excess. In Fire Begets Fire, a pristine garden lagoon is trashed and burned, a roman bust floating in the polluted water as acid-colored smoke plumes into the sky. Adjacent, an empty desert-scape surrounds a red pool, the clouds of a coming storm forming in the background. In one of Crow’s signature interior compositions titled Clairvoyance, a deserted high-end restaurant garnished with an opulent chandelier looms from a privileged post over a firework/lightening/inferno-engulfed cityscape. The question of whether the city is amid celebration or destruction is enhanced by Crow’s layering of colors and glitched photographic images which serve to both obscure and embellish reality. The emptiness of each scene cultivates an equal sense of tranquility and disaster,an element of exuberance with a dark undercurrent. Crow is interested in the dark psychologies that drive us as people. This darkness is present throughout even the most ebullient works such as the explosive still-lives which expose the gluttony of consumer society and the seduction of overabundance.

When people look back at Crow’s work created in the year 2020, they might be struck by a romanticized yearning for a past and present that never was. Time capsules of the contemporary moment, Crow’s paintings cultivate a sense of time collapsing and an inescapable pattern of destruction.

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