Maryjean Viano Crowe creates mixed media three-dimensional works that have a strong physical presence, achieved by the bountiful accumulation of textured papers, plastic toys, and flea market flotsam encrusted in the work. Layer upon layer creates an opulent surface, engaging the viewer to look more closely. Within the work, Viano Crowe explores the house as a sacred vessel that holds histories–sometimes visible, but often not.
Regardless of the format she uses, representations of the female figure typically perform on the various stages Maryjean creates for them. Cloistered within their own private universes, her subjects’ expressions seldom reveal more than subtle hints about their actual inner selves. Orbiting the background, often structured in the style of manuscript illuminations, is a complex planetary arrangement of fanciful ephemera from birds to insects, to flora and fauna, visually suggesting an extension of the central figures’ intricate, emotional worlds.
Belfast, Maine Artist MJ Viano Crowe Featured in DeCordova Museum Exhibit
Mj Viano Crowe is among selected works by other distinguished photographers and photographic artists of the 20th century now on display at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, in a retrospective exhibit, "All The Marvelous Surfaces, Photography Since Karl Blossfeldt", an acclaimed German photographer whose collection of magnified plant specimens enthralled viewers with its exquisite details.
Viano Crowe's 1987 piece, "Reliquary", measuring 20' x 8', is a notable example of the artist's early constructed works, using techniques and processes that became her signature style: creating collaged gelatin silver print images that were re-sized, re-assembled and subtly hand-colored with photographic dyes.
"Reliquary" has been part of the DeCordova Museum’s permanent collection for more than 30 years, and despite being in storage for nearly three decades, is remarkably well-preserved, showing no sign of fading or surface deterioration.
In addition to fine art pieces like "Reliquary", the exhibit showcases the myriad historic, artistic and conventional uses of photography by renowned photographers that include Harold Edgerton, Lalla Essaydi, Aaron Siskind, Edward Steichen, and Bradford Washburn, as well as a vast collection of iconic and lesser known images and the stories behind them.
The exhibit runs from November, 2019 through March 29, 2020. For more information, please visit the DeCordova Musuem's website.