I came across an artist called Rebecca Crowell recently and I was really taken with her work. Here’s one of her paintings above. She is exhibiting in a 2 person show at the moment, entitled “Vestiges” in the Elaine Erickson Gallery in Milwaukee, USA and I have reproduced below part of her artist’s statement:
A few years ago, walking on a foggy, craggy moor in central England, I realised that there must be many places around the world (like that very moor) that – despite their geographic location – can feel like home, the true home of my senses and feelings. For each of us, these places will be different – but in certain surroundings, particular to our own experience – we sense that we belong, and feel special creative energy. There are aspects of the colour, the texture and the features of these places that resonate in our souls. The vestiges of these places that linger in our minds are far more than just mental pictures of a scene or beautiful landscape. They are sensual and emotional memories, mingled with other moments in our lives when we felt this special connection. On that moor in England, for example, I remembered wandering in nature as a child, and my love of rocks and wild places. I felt at home with a core aspect of myself, though I was physically far from my own country.
It reminded me of a feeling I used to get in the Dublin Mountains in my own youth and indeed, it was a feeling that I used to try and find in my paintings. ( I used to call them ‘bog landscapes’ even though in the end they were more about the mood or atmosphere that colours can create ). ‘Home’ could have been another name for them, maybe. Strangely enough, the title of my recent exhibition was “Home” but these days my work is quite different to those abstract works of a decade ago.
However, even though the work appeared to be about the struggles of the homeless, I would say that it was actually more about a yearning for ‘home’. I would even suggest that the practice of art is often ‘a yearning for home’, so to speak. But I have a question: When I left art college I was making abstract paintings but gradually, various social issues began to creep into my life and it was reflected in my art so that at this stage I make purely figurative works. My question is: Is it possible to make abstract work but also to allude to more down to earth issues in life today?