There is still time to see the work of Dallas native Rosson Crow in her FOCUS Exhibition here at the Modern. The large paintings in her exhibition blend iconographic elements of the old-west with rich colors and expressionist brushstrokes. The four paintings in the exhibition are a gun store, oil field, butcher shop and saloon. These masculine spaces are dramaticized by the dark corners and rich splashes of blood red paint.
Each painting offers a romanticized image of the old west. Devoid of any people, Crow’s paintings create an eerie feeling of desertion. All that remains now are the inanimate objects of people’s lives. Crow’s painting, Bucket of Blood Saloon Destroyed by the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was inspired by a photograph of an actual saloon in Nevada as well as the destruction of the California earthquake. Crow combines these historical elements in order to create an imagined narrative for the work. The knocked over chairs and collapsing structure of the building create a chaotic sense of abandonment. It is as though the patrons and employees of the saloon left in a hurry and never returned.
In another work, Sharp’s Rifle Shop 2009, the artist invites viewers to take a stroll down the hallway of dancing rifles. The dominant scale of this diptych pulls the viewer into the mysterious environment. The dramatic perspective operates like a stage set where a chorus line of guns parade down the ornamented carpet and display case lined walls.
Crow's work offers a contemporary spin on the idea of history paintings. Instead of painting the moments we remember in history as they are happening, Crow lets these moments age and get a little grimier before she records them on canvas.
This show marks Crow’s first solo museum exhibition, a milestone this 26-year-old is sure to be enjoying.
This Exhibition is open through May 17.