September 2008

Catbird Seat

Painter Rosson Crow is exactly where she wants to be  by Mayer Rus / photograph by Paul Jasmin

Rosson Crow in her Studio

It’s not hard to see why Rosson Crow loves L.A.: She’s fascinated by its rich history of manufacturing mythology and laundering images of power for mass consumption. But if you ask the 25-year-old Texan why she chose to settle here after finding success in New York and Paris, her response is surprisingly conventional. “I liked the idea of Los Angeles—-sunny skies and warm breezes,” she says cheerfully. “I wanted a house, a car, a big studio and a dog.”

Queens Butcher Shop, 1910, 2008. Oil, enamel and acrylic on canvas. 96 x 144 inches.

Tea Room at the Plaza, 2008. Oil, enamel, acrylic and spray paint on canvas. 108 x 108 inches.

Queens Butcher and Tea Room at the Plaza by Rosson Crow Avant-garde young artists don’t normally cop to such bourgeois aspirations. But Crow isn’t too worried about striking a pose. Growing up in a conservative Dallas suburb, she indulged her performance interests by going to school in costume—a gutsy move in a regimented culture of football gods and Britney Spears acolytes.

At the School of Visual Arts in New York, Crow’s self-confidence, idiosyncratic sensibility and technical skill coalesced in large-scale paintings that attracted the attention of dealers and collectors. She had her first solo show at Canada Gallery in Manhattan in 2004, just as she was heading to Yale for her MFA. The exhibit established Crow’s rep as a rising star, which she cemented with sold-out shows in Paris and New York.

On the subject of early fame and its pitfalls, Crow remains sanguine. “I didn’t have a lot of trepidation about showing while I was still in school. My work didn’t stop developing because people were seeing and responding to it,” she says.

Earlier this year, Crow made a dramatic West Coast solo debut at the Honor Fraser Gallery, sexy, splashy paintings that ran the gamut of her signature themes: country music and cowpokes to artifice and decadence. She’s currently prepping for a 2009 show at London’s White Cube Gallery.

“All I think about is wanting to paint and what I’m going to paint next,” Crow says. “If I have any other obsession, it’s my dog, Willie.” Welcome to L.A., Rosson.