Project Description

Freezing Rain (2016)

Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY

Marlborough Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by American artist, Paula Crown. 

The exhibition will feature a new sculptural work, Freezing Rain, which will be shown at Marlborough as an 8 by 12 foot installation. Continuing her artistic practice of embracing the use of photography and technology while honoring the core human instinct to make marks, Freezing Rain was conceived from photographs Crown took of rainstorms. From the printed digital images she made freehand drawings of individual raindrops. The artist then employed high-resolution scanners and software to read, enlarge, and map her drawings from which she created hundreds of elements crafted in Super Mirror stainless steel designed to mimic a sheet of rain. Crown has suspended these elements at irregular intervals along 200 individual lengths of invisible monofilament. The artist completes her glistening impression of a stormy moment by fastening the lines tautly at precise angles from ceiling to floor.

In a second group of works titled Anemos (“wind” translated from the Greek), Crown has rendered topographies in a custom stainless steel chain mesh fabric.  The artist sets herself a challenge in the Anemos Series.  She questions: “How can one represent the invisible ephemeral force of the wind?” In a practice that is an extension of the artist’s gestural air drawing, Crown creates landscapes in the chain mesh with her hands before the undulating form is frozen in time and space with resin. The resulting series of wall reliefs become lacy and supple. They read like windblown landscapes viewed from the air. They bear witness to a personal moment in time.

In Freezing Rain, Crown interprets a memory of a sheet of rain. The artist invites the viewer to pause, circumnavigate the installation, and to contemplate the physical interaction of light, gravity, and space.  Viewers become a part of the work as their own reflections are refracted and dispersed in and around the gallery.

Nature and technology coexist in Freezing Rain to reveal the conceptual underpinning of Crown’s oeuvre. The process is rooted in her study of American semiotician, Charles Sanders Pierce. Executive Director of ART21, Tina Kukielski, in a quote from Crown’s exhibition brochure notes, “Pierce said that chance, determination and purpose were the central organizing tenets of human existence. By extension, knowledge… becomes thought translated into language. For Crown, technology is another tool for knowing, beyond language.” 

Crown says of her art practice: “Neural sensory input is translated through the hand. The pressure of the hand leaves a trace and records a moment of attention.…art is thought manifested. I follow my instinct to understand and communicate ideas. The analog leads to the digital and loops back again… The tools of technology enable me to dimensionalize lines  — to lift them off the page, to twist and invert them. New points of view become possible. These tools provide ways for me to translate images in my mind into 3D images and objects.”  

Further, Crown states: “I seek ways to map experiences and to navigate the spaces in between – where we all search for our bearings.  How can we, as artists, expand the collective knowledge of the laws of nature, perception, reality, and human existence? The image reveals itself through the research, the work, and the process.  Author and historian James Gleick highlights this concept adroitly… the accretion of human knowledge is always ‘IN’—FORMATION.”

The artist’s work attests to being attentive and intentional. It is nuanced and multi-leveled. She reminds us that “The most astonishing and numinous features of life are accessible when our senses are a tip-toe. We all stand on sacred ground, it just requires awareness. Afternoon shadows, a pattern in the sidewalk, a paper’s edge all are open for insight.  That is where I want to live, it the openness of possibility. Small screens and virtual apps cannot provide these resonant experiences.”