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The Revelator
year: 2009
size: 700 x 450 x 200 mm
media: mixed media

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Exhibitions by Maryrose Crook
showcase a group exhibition
maryrose crook, andre hemer, peata larkin, judy millar and peter roche
27 june - 14 july 2012

maryrose crook
wholly other
19 july - 13 august 2011

maryrose crook
inland seas
11 may - 5 june 2010

from ritual
maryrose crook, john di stefano, peter madden and sanjay theodore
1 - 24 december 2009

The real and the surreal come to together in Maryrose Crook's unworldly dreamscapes - sumptuous oil paintings that have been described as 'immensely enticing', 'exquisitely rendered' and 'haunting'.

Drawing on painting's history, she creates fantastical scenes and still lifes which disrupt expectations with their surprising assemblages of imagery from diverse worlds and sensibilities, combining for example, distinctly New Zealand images with Victorian hoop dresses or indigenous flora and fauna in settings referencing Renaissance or Rococo traditions. Recurring motifs such as Rotorua's pink and white terraces, kokako and swallows operate metaphorically to suggest ideas of loss or threat. However meaning, as in dreams, is fluid. As an artist and singer songwriter Crook has learnt to liberate her subconscious and to let images, lyrics and melodies simply surface to canvas or score.

As a child, Crook painted and drew obsessively but she only started painting seriously in the mid 1990s and quickly attracted attention - within a year of showing her first paintings in a Dunedin café, she had an exhibition at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Since then she has exhibited widely and won a range of residencies and awards including the 2006 Wallace Development Award. Her work has been consistently well received. An exhibition in Christchurch in mid 2009 received a rapturous review from Andrew Paul Wood who wrote in The Press: Crook's inventiveness is extraordinary. Touched by the genius of Brueghel and Bosch, she invents fabulous entities for these scenes, livened with a fragile jewel like brilliance and intense colour…

Crook returned to New Zealand in 2009 after living and exhibiting in Berlin for a year and in Beijing for three months on The Red Gate Artist Residency Programme. Her travels are generating rich new sources of imagery. The sea, she says, has been prominent in her music and will be a dominant thread in her new body of work. "Beijing although an inland city felt like the sea – its layers, currents, huge complexity and ocean of humanity."