The Nature of Women (2021), Art She Says


The Nature of Women (2021), Art She Says

“What if we ascribe to the philosophy that we are all interconnected? That there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work? What if the virus was actually an awakening from Mother Nature—a start to the decade so raw, so painful, so unforgettable, that it uprooted humanity from its mindless habits—galvanizing each individual to collectively reset, reflect, and sow the seeds of change.

If we just paused for a moment to observe the world around us, we would not be able to ignore the damage we are incurring on our planet. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and scorching heatwaves are already driving many species to extinction, and these damages are only increasing over time. The silver lining is: if human influence is the cause of climate change, we can also be the drivers of reversing it.” — Claudia Cheng, Curator

Paula Crown Atelier is pleased to participate in Art She Says newest online exhibition “The Nature of Women” from March 8 – April 8, 2021. Premiering on International Women’s Day, this exhibition features 9 sensational artists whose works explore the ways in which women relate to Mother Nature. These works weave together the human psyche, the female identity, and our place in nature, revealing the interdependence between us and our planet. Perpetually evolving, growing, protecting, cultivating, expanding, and unifying: women are the threads of our social fabric, and we have the power and the responsibility to save our planet.

This exhibition will support The Nature Conservancy, one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.

Link here to view this exhibition and learn more.

Emanare (2021), Intersect 21, Palm Springs, CA


What positive message do you want to emanate to the world today?

Paula Crown
Multimedia Installation
Dimensions Variable
Physical Installation: 73-811 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260. February 16 – May 20, 2021.

“In these disorienting times, how can we utilize positive and contemplative intention to affect energy in the world? By engaging with affirmative ideas, I invite the viewer to add their positive emanation as an act of unity via collective activation – solo together.” 

– Paula Crown

In EMANARE, Crown blends the haptic and the virtual creating an interactive experience inviting each of us to collaborate with the artwork.  Emanare, the Latin word for emanate, means to flow out, to send forth, and to emit. Known for asking “What’s not wrong today?” Crown believes in the power of positive intentions and the extraordinary goodness in the world. 

What positive message do you want to emanate to the world today? Your response to this prompt will be displayed on LED screens in Palm Desert, CA for socially distant in-person viewing and online for virtual viewing globally.  Layers of messages scroll against a backdrop of morphing colors from Crown’s paintings and local skyscapes. Over time, new messages will be added, accumulating and transforming the work as each participant’s unique mark joins in unison.

Inspired by Buddhist prayer wheels, Crown further transforms remnants of the space’s retail past with subtle light activations. The mysterious intervention visually connects with the empty retail space and prompts questions about the relationship between the totemic object and the scrolling messages in the window. 

EMANARE (2021) continues Crown’s practice of inviting viewers to interact and collaborate with her work. TRANSPOSITION (2014) installed in Miami’s Design District created a community nexus around Crown’s installation centered around her 25-foot PERforation sculpture. The public was invited to engage with the site, activating the space with music, dance, yoga, and performances.  During the unveiling of her monumental sculpture, JOKESTER 2 (2018), Crown partnered with The Surfrider Miami in a social media campaign that removed 1lb of waste from Miami’s beaches for each photo visitors shared on social media. FREEZING RAIN (2018) was exhibited at the 2018 AURORA biennial in Dallas where viewers activated the work as they moved around the installation. The site-specific sculpture is developed from hand-drawn individual rain droplets processed through digital mapping software and fully realized as a 3D installation. In #IamFor (2018), Crown invites visitors to write down what they stand for on a black sports ball before dropping it into an open atrium at the center of the gallery. These visitor-created messages populate the background of a billboard Crown created with For Freedoms in 2020 as a reminder that what we value does not change with each news cycle or political administration.

INSIDE MY HEAD: A Contemporary Self-Portrait (2020), Hebrew University Arts Website, Jerusalem, Israel


INSIDE MY HEAD: A Contemporary Self-Portrait (2020)

Hebrew University Arts Website, Jerusalem, Israel

“I think of it as painting with tools of technology” – Paula Crown

The self-portrait is among the most prevalent subjects in art history. Typically, it involves using a mirror to capture the surface information which is then selectively conveyed to the audience. With any luck, the artist’s internal life will shine forth from these external details. Of course, no objective portrait exists. The artist’s perception always colors his/her view of the subject, and the viewers’ perceptions color their interpretations.

The multimedia work INSIDE MY HEAD: A Contemporary Self Portrait (2013) began with MRIs of Crown’s brain. Beset by migraines since childhood, she animated these high-tech images of her internal landscape and projected them on concave screens. The piece is a self-portrait rendered from the inside out, an intimate view of her personal topology. Altered and viewed in an alternative scale, the images evoke the cosmos and its starscapes, from which we evolved.

This virtual exhibition includes an animation made from Crown’s MRI scans. Initially, the imagery appears to be abstract patterns. However, upon closer observation, these images, with their pulsating accumulation of shapes and forms, reveal the workings of the artist’s own brain, documented via a magnetic resonance image (MRI). As Crown states, “I view them as abstract forms and topologies that could be micro or macro in size.” Although Crown has said that landscapes capture her attention and she researches topologies and maps, there is not narrative or symbolism to her work. It’s the various shapes and patterns that interest her. My work is “just a connection between what is happening in our bodies and what is happening in the larger world,” she says.

The animation is accompanied by an audio track composed specifically for this piece, replacing the original hammering noise of the MRI scanner with a soothing violin, a musical interpretation of the activity of Crown’s brain. As the shapes change so does the music. “The music is my brain’s anatomy that was literally put into a software program and converted to sound,” Crown explains. “Then a violinist played to the animation of the brain scans.”

paula_crown_--_inside_my_head-_a_contemporary_self-portrait_1920x1080_1280x720 vimeo play

#solotogether (Messages for the City) (2020), Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC


#solotogether (Messages for the City) (2020)

Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

Messages for the City
The M
int Museum
Charlotte, North Carolina
Fall 2020

Throughout the fall of 2020, The Mint Museum will present Messages for the City, artist-made images and animations that recognize and celebrate the work of frontline and essential workers during the COVID pandemic, on the Wells Fargo screen located on the Levine Center for the Arts in Charlotte. Originally created for Times Square Arts in NY, these artist-designed PSAs remind us of the ways in which our solitudes can be unified.

Crown’s work, #solotogether (Messages for the City) (2020) explores the duality of our human existence, as soloists in an expansive orchestra, where each action affects the collective whole. During this global pandemic, we must embrace the truth. Our societal fabric is only as strong as the individual threads of which it is composed. We need to be as unflinching and clear in our understanding of how every action ripples through our interwoven ecosystem. Our front line workers remind us in the most beautiful way that we are never alone. Solo and together we can find our way to healing.

This is America | USA Today (2020), Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort, NL


This is America |USA Today (2020)

Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort, NL

This Is America | Art USA Today, on view from September 26, 2020 – January 03, 2021, brings together almost forty American artists addressing current issues like identity, city culture, climate change, and ‘Trump’. Included in this exhibition is Crown’s work, Thoughts & Prayers, which was originally commissioned by For Freedoms as part of its 50 State Initiative in 2016. It is s both a confrontation and a call to action.

To learn more about this exhibition, visit Kunsthal KAde’s website here.

Sculpturally Distanced (2020)


Sculpturally Distanced (2020)

Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Aspen, CO

Paula Crown Atelier is pleased to participate in Anderson Ranch Art Center’s public art exhibition opening Summer 2020 entitled Sculpturally Distanced. This interactive outdoor sculpture exhibition, curated by Lissa Ballinger, is comprised of 17 sculptures by local, national, and internationally-acclaimed artists, including two works from Crown’s CLOUDY Series.

CLOUDY represents a portion from an original drawing that has been transformed into 3D-depth studies. The marks are direct, made while moving in time and space, connecting the intimacy of that experience to the sublime expanse of the horizon. The surfaces reflect the surroundings and allow space for visitors to locate themselves within the present moment.

These works are for sale, all proceeds benefiting Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Click here to view the exhibition website and view the works.

#iamFOR (2018), Fort Gansevoort, NY 


#iamFOR (2018) 

Fort Gansevoort, NY 

Paula Crown’s solo exhibition, I am FOR, was the inaugural exhibition for the For Freedom’s 50 State Initiative at their working headquarters Fort Gansevoort, NY. The exhibition explored themes of social activism, racial taxonomy, and political factionalism through large-scale sculpture and installations activated by viewer participation. Each of Crown’s works confronts the trajectory of our legacy and challenges us to reconsider. 

Included in the exhibition, a number of works explore the historical idea of the “blackball” often used by a club or authoritative body to register a negative vote against a person, existing as a symbol of faceless rejection.  The exhibition invites viewers to consider their responsibility for and implication in systems of oppression. Working with symbols that have been laden with negative, divisive meaning throughout history, Crown recontextualizes and seeks to invert images we take for granted. 

In keeping with For Freedom’s spirit of engagement, the central work of the exhibition invited viewers to reflect on what they stand FOR in this moment, rather than a divisive vote against, and to add their voice to the exhibition. Here, Crown inverts the historical use of a black ball to cast a negative vote and instead accumulates ideas of the future that we are FOR. Gallery visitors penned their own supportive statements on these black balls and then dropped them into an open atrium from the roof of Fort Gansevoort into the gallery’s interior space. The performative gesture challenges us to take a stand and speak up. 

Created at various scales, Crown also transformed sports balls to upend the historical meaning. Works on display included Crown’s ENtitleist, an enlarged, 3D-milled, alabaster golf ball, made imperfect through natural aberrations in 3D scanning and by the material’s irregular and fragile disposition. By purposefully showing these scars and cracks, the artist highlights the injury and pain of being excluded by others. In Crown’s words “in a binary system of 1s and 0s… we are all 1s.”

Full Press Release Here

I am FOR interactive installation, 2018

Participant dropping a ball with message into I am FOR installation, 2018

NOT, 2018 on display at For Freedoms HQ in NYC

Installation view of I am FOR at For Freedoms HQ in NYC, 2018

ENtitleist (alabaster), 2017

ENtitleist (suspended), 2018

Installation view ENtitleist (alabaster) and ENtitleist (1)  2018

ALPHABRAVO (white sky), 2018

detail ALPHABRAVO (white sky), 2017

ALPHABRAVO (night sky), 2017

NOT (mirror), 2018

Humble Hubris: Don’t know what you got (till its gone), 2013

kinematic.earth, 2018

Humble Hubris: Don’t know what you got (till its gone)(bench), 2018

Paula Crown and Hank Willis Thomas observe ENtitleist (1), 2018

Paula Crown, Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, and the For Freedoms & Fort Gansevoort teams

ENtitleist (alabaster), 2018

Paula Crown tosses the first black ball into the atrium at For Freedoms HQ in NYC

The Architecture of Memory (2018), Studio Cannaregio, Venice


The Architecture of Memory

The Architecture of Memory is a focused examination of Paula Crown’s artwork in an international biennale festival setting with architecture as the thematic backdrop. Installed in Studio Cannaregio, a new exhibition space, in the oldest part of Venice, the exhibition runs concurrently with the 16th Venice International Architectural Biennale adding a distinctive and independent voice to the “Freespace” themed festival.

Crown’s multifaceted works incorporate painting, sculpture, video, and installation. Working from critical references and advanced studio practices, Crown examines public interactions with significance and wit. This exhibition underscores the basic building blocks of signs and indexes that inform contemporary sculpture and architecture.

Cast in free-flowing directions across the gallery space, hundreds of red, crushed cups lay on the floor in what seem to be remnants of a party. The installation, SOLO TOGETHER (2017), elicits narratives of cultural success and excess. Issues of personal and collective interactions, sustainability, and environmental carelessness all resonate with this iconic form. The red cups, usually made from molded polystyrene plastic, are deliberately cast in heavy plaster inverting them into unique objects.

The movement of Chain Mesh (2018), projected in an adjacent gallery space, references running water or billows caused by wind. The metal mesh remains connected as it streams, creating a hypnotic rhythm. Its minimalist and coded aesthetics are cast against the disorder and unpredictability of SOLO TOGETHER.

Chalice (2018), expands on the motif of the Solo Cup. Introducing a dramatic shift in materiality, this monumental sculpture continues Crown’s ongoing exploration of the human relationship to mark-making in the Anthropocene age.  The sculpture, a mannerist, twisted iteration of the cup, introduces a dramatic shift in color and material for the series. The 7-foot fiberglass monument gleams golden, taking a commanding shape. The form of the Solo Cup is once again transformed at a scale and finish that provoke questions of value, worth, myth, ceremony, and consumption. Placing a golden vessel at heroic scale in the gallery brings to mind mythic objects; the Holy Grail of Arthurian literature, the Holy Chalice of Christianity. The art object takes the place of the religious in the exhibition playing on themes of reverence and our instinct to seek out a higher meaning. Looking up into the reified Chalice, one is sure to ask, “what is it that we believe in?”

Paula Crown: The Architecture of Memory is a programming partner with the American Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale organized by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. This project is curated by Peter Doroshenko and organized by Dallas Contemporary.

SOLO TOGETHER, 2018 — Studio Cannaregio, Venice, Italy

SOLO TOGETHER, 2018 — Studio Cannaregio, Venice, Italy

SOLO TOGETHER, 2018 — Studio Cannaregio, Venice, Italy

CHALICE, 2018 and Venetian Blinds, 2018

Detail view CHALICE, 2018 and Venetian Blinds, 2018

Detail view CHALICE, 2018 and Venetian Blinds, 2018

Venetian Blinds, 2018


kinematic.cosmos 7, 2018

IN THIS HOUSE (2018), Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL



Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL

The Elmhurst Art Museum (EAM) proudly announces IN THIS HOUSE, a group exhibition exploring domestic forms and functionality within historic Mies van der Rohe home featuring works by Michelle Grabner, Brad Killam, Paula Crown, Tony Tasset, and James Welling.

The show’s title stems from an advertisement for prefabricated housing designed by Mies, for which the McCormick House was a prototype. The 1955 brochure states “In this house, architecture and technology have combined to contribute a new dimension.” The works in the exhibition expand on this intersection and celebrate the formal languages that inhabit domestic structures. Materiality, repetition, color, and spatial order will be featured and minimally distributed throughout the volumes of the McCormick House living space.

Strategically positioned throughout the house are 100 of Crown’s delicately and accurately reproductions of red Solo Cups, recognizable items that are otherwise easily discarded. The installation of her SOLO TOGETHER sculptures take on recognizable rubrics of campus social life. Energy and intention transfer from hands to plastic and “mark” gestures in time. Their remains create a zombie space, an immortalized intersection of souls. Unconsciously, we fidget and twist straws, wring napkins and wear paths in the grass where no sidewalks exist. We express our physicality, ideas, and emotions when we carve ski tracks in pristine alpine powder, notate and caress. The essence of gesture is present even in our forgotten marks. Each personified composition shows that we exist solo and together.  

To learn more about this exhibition, click here. To view the exhibition brochure, click here.

SOLO TOGETHER (2017), 10 Hanover, London


Solo Together (2017)

10 Hanover, London

10 Hanover is delighted to announce a new exhibition of works by Paula Crown. Solo Together will feature three separate bodies of work: the eponymous series of red Solo Cups, a new rendition of her transfixing site-specific installation,  Freezing Rain, and mixed-media prints from the Kinematic series. This will be Crown’s first show with 10 Hanover and her second in London, having previously exhibited widely in the US. 

Crown is a multi-media artist with a practice encompassing drawing, painting, video and sculpture. The studio is renowned for experimenting with cutting-edge technology, including collaborations with architects, medical laboratories and design studios. Sensitive to the environmental consequences of an experimental and technological heavy practice, Crown instills a thorough commitment to sustainability in her work. This engagement is often apparent in her choice of subject matter and medium, which may involve natural elements and phenomena, and recycled or hand-made materials.

Solo Together is composed of 150 plaster casts of individually crushed red Solo Cups, which have been placed across the gallery floor just like after a raucous party. In the USA, the Solo Cup Company needs no introduction. A manufacturer of disposable drinks cups, plates, and bowls, their most famous product – the bright red disposable plastic cup – is omnipresent at any casual social occasion amongst friends and family. Founded in 1936, the company first became successful in parallel with the popularity of fountain sodas. Today’s distinctive red design was developed in the 1970s and quickly became ubiquitous across the US, due to its low cost, durability, and disposability. The bold and cheerful Solo Cup, made from thick moulded polystyrene, fit in perfectly with a throwaway and consumer-orientated society that allied with the conveniences offered by advances in plastic technologies. Solo Cup customers include Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Whole Foods Market, and many universities. Overseas, including here in the UK, the red Solo Cup is instantly recognizable from film and television exports. Through the censoring filter of Hollywood, the red cup is associated with a particular brand of Americana that is consumed from scenes of college life, family barbeques, and sporting events in shows such as American Pie, Glee, Clueless, and Superbad. Seen only on screen in these contexts, the Solo Cup is understood as a bright and colourful symbol of all-American fun, without any negative connotations of frat parties, litter, and social demographic.

Crown highlights the social and cultural complexities behind this superficially simple icon. They are physical remains of a transient event and beg questions to an absent crowd: “Who was here and where are they now?”, “What was the occasion?”, “What did I miss out on?” and “Who’s job is it to clear this up?”. The names of each cup are inspired by the imagined personalities of their owners, or hint towards private complexities behind public personas: Mathlete, Effortlessly Perfect, Failing Out, or Keeping Up Appearances. Each piece has been cast in plaster from a hand-crushed cup, which has then been spray and hand-painted. The combination of reproduction and craft techniques reflect the central themes in this work: the individual versus the anonymous; the way humans make personal marks upon their mass-produced belongings. Crown’s decision to mould in natural plaster (not plastic), and start and finish with her hands deliberately opposes the philosophy of choosing Solo Cups to cater for a party: her practice concerns the traces that we leave behind on the environment through our choices as a consumer, and social responsibility for the mess and damage that remains. The Solo Cup’s attraction for being cheap, disposable, and low-hassle, has been deliberately inverted into unique and preciously created objects.

The installation Freezing Rain recreates a moment in a rainstorm and captures a pause of transcendental clarity. Continuing her artistic practice to combine high technology with direct “analogue” mark-making, Freezing Rain was conceived from photographs of rainstorms. The digital images were then translated into freehand drawings of the individual raindrops, which were then scanned, enlarged, and expanded into 3D blueprints for hundreds of new individual shards of metal. Cut from the highly reflective SuperMirror stainless steel, and threaded on microfilaments from the ceiling, the “raindrops” are suspended at an angle between the ceiling and floor, completing her glistening impression of a sheet of rain. The work embodies the artist’s dedication to technical precision, the wonders of the natural world, and the recreation of a pure experience. Walking around the installation, refracted light dances around the space, and fragments of the viewer’s reflection glint back in fleeting and intangible reflections. Situated in the gallery window, the colours and shadows change throughout the day. Crown has created a fragile experience which can be apprehended momentarily but is never truly knowable – in the same way, that nature can be appreciated, copied, and used, but ultimately remains sublime and unfathomable.

The Kinematic series starts from an investigation into liquid graphite and water. In the same way that oil and water do not mix, liquid graphite poured and moved around a pool of water creates dynamic floating compositions. The forms variably evoke the topography of the earth in photos taken from space, or the view from the earth looking up at the cosmos. These have then been photographed, printed on flex gesso, and hand-painted with silver leaf in a way that augments the orientation of the work (ground or sky). Similarly to her use of photography in Freezing Rain, Crown combines the potential of sophisticated technology with empirical knowledge from the artist’s studio. This mixture of analogue with highly specialised innovation mirrors a core intent to create physical objects that embody the desire to grasp the ineffable.

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