Sarah Crowner’s diverse practice ranges from paintings and ceramics to sculpture and theatre curtains. Her bold and colourful paintings and tile works incorporate forms found in architecture, nature, and in the history of twentieth-century art and design. Her stitched paintings are created by using an industrial sewing machine to sew painted and raw irregular panels of canvas together, simultaneously revealing the painting’s composition and construction. Sections are painted in saturated primary colours to imply a form, a presence, a possibility. The stitched seams remain visible, like plant veins or arteries, reflecting her interest in systems and patterns, production and reproduction, in culture and nature. At times the seams, and forms they suggest, recall hard-edged paintings of the 1960s, in others curved lines conjure biomorphic abstraction. She treats the past, the natural world and popular culture as a medium; zooming in, rotating, reversing, cropping, repeating, mirroring, shrinking and enlarging the familiar to engage the viewer, revealing connections between micro and macro, individual and context.
In recent years Crowner has exhibited her paintings in conjunction with ceramic tile murals and floor installations installed on elevated platforms in the gallery context, creating a bespoke, intimate environment and stage. Each individual stitched and painted fragment of canvas and each hand-crafted, hand-painted tile, (complete with surface irregularities), is a unique element, a world within a world, yet reliant upon its neighbour in order to contribute to a greater whole. Crowner embraces the idea of painting as object and her works embody the experience of architecture and space both within themselves and their display. Her work draws attention to the surrounding context, from the painted walls, brick patterns, concrete floor or plate glass windows. These dynamic three-dimensional abstractions seductively speak of connection, opposition, separation, hierarchy, transition and assimilation. Witty, playful and optimistic, Sarah Crowner’s investment in materials and use of colour as form deliberately seduce the viewer, evoking desire and reflecting her interest in how painting can engage the body and mind.
Sarah Crowner: Paintings for the Stage
Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong, is pleased to present the first solo show in Asia by New York artist Sarah Crowner. The exhibition will comprise a series of new stitched canvas paintings by the artist, as well as a collaboration with the Hong Kong-based scenic painter and theatre set designer, Pink Lam. Paintings For The Stage will be a continuation of the artist’s architectural and scenographic interventions, as seen most recently in her works at the 57th edition of The Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, scenery and costume design for Jessica Lang’s Garden Blue for the American Ballet Theatre Company, and the commission she created for the Wright restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York.