“The paintings in the Place to Place series began in response to my move in the summer of 2021 from rural Wisconsin to our new home in northern New Mexico. Various moments, emotions, thoughts, and memories from this time of upheaval and transition influenced the work. Sometimes this applied in very particular, narrative ways. For example, “Highway” and “That Last Morning” refer to specific memories of leaving Wisconsin. The “Perimeter” series relates to our square forty-acre property in Wisconsin and the colors associated with the directions and the seasons. “A Good Place” was painted with an appreciation for the dramatic landscape and luminous atmosphere of our new home, and “Grounded” expresses the sense of finally, firmly landing after the move.
As the series evolved, my ideas became more generalized to include thoughts of aging and the changes that come with it, since aging factored into moving when we did. The title I used at the beginning of the series, Place to Place, continued to work in a more inclusive way, now referring to places in time. The images in “Weathered” and “Eroded” are inspired by the natural processes that happen over time as seen in the arroyos and canyons of our new home, and also to those in our aging bodies. “Shifting Boundaries” implies movement and change, both subtle and dynamic. One of the most visually complex paintings in the exhibition, “All That Was Left Behind,” is also one of the most emotional for me. Painted at the start of the war in Ukraine, it became about the universal experiences of deep loss and change.
In all these paintings, I have aimed to create very complex, layered surfaces and textures to reflect the intricacies of the experiences, emotions, and personal history that informed the work. My visual language is derived from the landscape, although not in a literal way. It is based on the emotional and thought-provoking impact of the places that move me. I work with oil paint mixed with cold wax, a medium that adds body and luminosity to the paint and lends itself to layering and excavating of the surface.
This exhibition also includes work from another series, Memory Vessels. These are works on paper I painted while I was in residency at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in County Mayo, Ireland. Although they are different in format, the intentions behind them are closely related to the paintings on panel, intended to evoke a sense of the memories and experiences we contain over time.” – Rebecca Crowell
Rebecca Crowell earned her MFA in painting from Arizona State University in 1985. When she is not teaching or traveling for artist residencies (in places such as the Catalonia region of Spain, northern Sweden, and coastal areas of Ireland), she works almost daily in her studio in New Mexico. She is widely recognized for her development of original techniques using cold wax medium and published a comprehensive book on the subject in 2017. She shares her
knowledge and experience of over thirty years as a professional artist via her podcast, blog, and Cold Wax Academy, the instructional platform she co-founded in 2020. Crowell’s work is included in hundreds of art collections worldwide, and she exhibits regularly in fine art galleries across the country.