Maryrose Crook is a self taught New Zealand audio-visual artist drawing on traditions of surrealism, still life and folk art to create worlds where beauty and brutality exist in close proximity. The Victorian Era becomes a character in its own right, with symbols of loss and mourning; extinct birds, faux mourning jewellery, and the sickly clone of the era’s favourite flower, Iris Susiana, the mourning Iris, morphing from a flower in a vase, into everything from wallpaper to objects of glass. Echoing Spanish Still Life traditions, cuts of glistening meat are draped with pearls, at rest on silk brocades. New Zealand’s long lost Pink and White Terraces and Sophia Hinerangi, the famous guide in the area at the time of the eruption, become players in a Lynchian world, both surreal yet aping reality, and the darkness is never far away; encircling the jewel-like inhabitants; moths, birds, landscapes and people.

Crook has shown widely in New Zealand, as well as the United States, Berlin and China. She has been featured in many books on art and also in Parisian magazine “Hey! Modern Art and Pop Culture”, for whom she has recently created two new pieces for their upcoming publication on the theme of the Earth Charter. In 2016 she exhibited for the first time in Los Angeles, at La Luz de Jesus, on Sunset Boulevard.

Crook began painting in 1996 and within a year took part in a group exhibition at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Curator Gwyneth Porter commented at the time that the years spent writing and performing as a member of the Renderers, (“a post Velvet’s electric folk group” Indoorsman, 2013), had honed Crook’s library of imagery, so that the paintings seemed to spring out fully formed once the artist took up the brush.

She has held a number of residencies, both in New Zealand (William Hodges, 6 months, Rangi Ruru Girl’s School, 6 months) and in China, where she was a resident of the Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, for 3 months, after winning the Development Award of the Wallace Art Awards in 2006, with the piece “Song of the Grey Ghost”.

Crook’s work is held in public and private collections in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany.

“Maryrose Crook’s paintings are obsessively rendered and hypnotic to behold, ineluctably drawing the viewer into dreamlike narratives that promise to reveal their mysteries, which of course they never do. Her influences, content, and stylistic pantheon include memento mori, Victorian miniatures, avant-garde science fiction, crisply executed Magritte-style Surrealism, Medieval illumination, and Renaissance pageantry. From all these threads springs a richness of symbolism, where every object, posture, and mark carries meaning, and sometimes contradictions.

Flowers, birds and bees, luxurious fabrics, unsettling still lifes with fresh meats and strands of pearls — art historical in a very specific, proto-modern kind of way that prefigured Pop Surrealism centuries hence, yet retaining a classically refined palette and single-hair delicacy in its luminosity. in Crook’s lavish beauty and lurking death, nostalgia, faith, and anguish all collude to render the world as a psychological matter.” Shana Nys Dambrot, Huff Post article for Godfrey Daniels School of Charm.

“Crook’s inventiveness is extraordinary. Touched by the genius of Bruegel and Bosch, she invents fabulous entities for these scenes, livened with a fragile, jewel-like brilliance and intense colour. Sometimes the effect is almost frightening: Lovecraftian horrors made chillingly real. A striking female nude viewed from the back has a slightly alien, organic and erotic quality – and we instinctively know that she is not of this earth.

Teamed with Crook’s larger works are the smaller close-up depictions of fantasy jewellery – again rather otherworldly, as if sourced from the sort of junk shop where the proprietor has cloven hooves and the building vanishes once you’re out the door, a la Twilight Zone. These are just as exquisite and inventive as the larger works – a magical realism.” Andrew Paul Wood, Christchurch Press.


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Dear Maryrose,
A tiny stack of Cafe Reader on counter in Frontier Coffee House, Yucca Valley, California. “Are these free?” Don’t know. I pick one up.
Who is Maryrose Crook? “A Little to the Left” this writer’s soul lives where I do. And then the paintings, omg.
On Youtube I find an interview that shows you to be a most beautiful, likable person of warmth and humility.
Then “Vegas Lives”… but wait a minute, that’s Papppy & Harriets! (I lived down Mane Street for 31 yrs; we birthed that musical town after the movie westerns died).
Thank you for your profoundly personal/universal art; paintings beyond belief. You are in the ranks of that rare tribe, women surreal artists of genius.
Your on-the-road story is positively wonderful. Meeting you through it at the start of a new day in desert paradise is a gift. I wish you well in every way.

Maryrose Crook says:

Hi Constance! I thought I had replied to this, but I must have forgotten to send it.
It was so lovely to get your message…you never know who picks up the magazine and
whether they’ll actually read it. I was delighted to hear that you’d looked me up on
Youtube, etc, and then on here. Thanks so much for being in touch with me, it means a
lot to know what other like minded souls feel about my work. Wishing you all the best,

Kathryne says:

Hi Maryrose
Are any artworks from this site for sale please?
Or is 50 works the only place?

Maryrose Crook says:

hi Kathryne,
Thanks for being in touch. I sent a message to your email address a while back but I wasn’t sure if you got it.
at this point almost all the work on this site is already sold.
50 Works do have some paintings still unsold, and they are my New Zealand gallery.
This site is mostly an online gallery of past work, but I am presently working on a large group of paintings and I’ll update
my images on here around august when they’re completed.

kathy sheridan says:

thank you for making the print available with your new record.

Maryrose Crook says:

Thanks Kathy; it was our record label’s idea to do that package, I’m really pleased you like it! the painting was one I did very fast to loosen myself up one day, and I had thought I might just paint over it if it didn’t work out, but I really enjoyed the process. Then it sat around because I couldn’t think how to finish it, and when the suggestion came up to make a print to go with the release I decided to just go back to it in much the same unconscious way I’d started….

Richard Stephens says:

Beautiful work, masterfully realized. I enjoyed meeting you at Goldwell Open Air Museum at Rhyolite. Thanks for the chance to view your work. I am impressed.

Maryrose Crook says:

Thanks very much Richard; I really appreciate you being in touch. We also enjoyed meeting you, it was lovely to hear about the art and your own pieces were great, it was clear you’d had a lot of pleasure painting them. it’s a haunting place, such a fascinating area; it’s left me feeling very inspired, we’ll definitely be back!

carla says:

Hi Maryrose, I am a teacher and I’d like to propose you to make you known in Italy, organizing an exibition or in otherway…It c ould be great!
Thanks, Carla

Maryrose Crook says:

Hi Carla, I’d love to do an exhibition in Italy…I’ve sent you a message to your email, thanks for being in touch, Maryrose.

amanda says:

thank you for replying im a art student at waiariki institute of technology in Rotorua

amanda says:

I loved your grey ghost dress painting. where is it now? where can I find more information about it? I am an Art student.
regards Amanda

Maryrose Crook says:

Hi Amanda, I kept the painting…it is in New Zealand still. Where are you studying art? I have sent a message to your email address. best, Maryrose.

Ron Kelly says:

Hi Maryrose
I’d like to buy one of your works for my wife’s birthday and she would like to buy one for her art group.
Incidentally, I still have a few catalogues from your southland art gallery show when I was programmes manager there.
Regards, Ron

Maryrose Crook says:

oh Ron! how are you? I was literally thinking about you yesterday!….I have been posting some old images on facebook from the southland show and thought of you, wondering what you’re up to now…you were so encouraging, and it was a big thing for me, doing that residency and then having the exhibition, which was the largest one I’d done at the time. So good to hear from you, sending you an email now. xx M

Have admired and coveted your work for many years now. Where would I find some?our recycled Lodge only features NZ artists and would benefit with “you” in our home for all guests to admire!

Maryrose Crook says:

hi Kathryne, thanks for your message; I’ve sent you an email about it…best wishes, M.

Anthony says:

At last you have an online showcase, looking good!

Maryrose Crook says:

yes, thanks for this Anthony! really pleased with it, just have to get some more work done now…..

Maryrose Crook says:

hi Daniel, I don’t see a request from you on FB. Maybe you should email me directly, or send another message on my facebook? I would be interested in hearing about your thoughts on showing in Nelson.

Daniel says:

Dear Mary,
Every now and again i see something that makes all the searching worthwhile. Your art falls in to that category. Superb. I have sent you a FB request but also found your web site. I would love the opportunity to show some of your art to a Nelson audience if you would like to.
Kind regards

Murray Gibson says:

A truly brilliant and innovative artist – I am very privileged to have one of your paintings.

Rosa P says:

严:) :) :) ♥♥♥ ♥♥ 二一〇壱ぎㄓꀙ

Rosa P says:

I LOVE it!

Maryrose Crook says:

thanks for the site WIDEOPEN!

Selected Exhibitions

Bardo of the Nectar Lovers, 50 Works Gallery, New Zealand
Pop Surrealism, 50 Works Gallery, New Zealand
New Work, 50 Works Gallery, New Zealand
Nigrdeo, La Luz de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA
Spring Collection, 50 Works Gallery, New Zealand
The Godfey Daniels School of Charm, Riverside City College, CA.
Relics from the Dream Desert, BKB gallery, Joshua Tree, CA.
Back of Beyond, Deering Estate at Cutler, Miami, FL.
Murmur of the Fallen, Gallery 33, Wanaka, New Zealand.
Wholly Other, Bartley and co Art, solo show
36 Years in the Zone, Brooke Gifford Gallery, group exhibition, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Inland seas, Bartley and co Art, Wellington, solo show
Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Berlin, Group show
Ghost Songs, Sonnenallee, Berlin.
Home and Deranged, Brooke Gifford, solo
Harvester of Eyes, Gallery 33, Wanaka, group show
Lucky Lamb, Bei Gao Studio Complex, Beijing, solo show, China
Too Much to Dream, Brooke G, chch solo show
Everything with wings is restless, Brooke G, solo exhibition, Christchurch.
Wallace art Awards Finalists exhibition, group exhibition, Auckland nz
Open Slate, group exhibition, Gallery 33, Wanaka, New Zealand.
Don't worry about me, I'm Fine, Brooke Gifford, solo show, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Bringing All the Things that Run, touring solo exhibition, Southland Museum and Art Gallery, aigantighe (timaru)
Waikato Art Award finalists, Waikato, New Zealand.
Bringing all the Things that Run, solo exhibition, Mary Newton Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand.
The Sorrowful Eye, Brooke Gifford, chch, solo exhibition.
Prospect 2004, City Gallery Wellington, group exhibition.
Sleeping Sickness, Brooke Gifford Gallery, (solo exhibition)
Beyond the Surface, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, touring group exhibition, Hawkes bay museum
Semel Insanivimus Omnes (we have all been mad once), Physics Room, chch. solo exhibition
Pillars of Salt, Dunedin Public Gallery (group exhibition)


Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, China
Unictec, Auckland, New Zealand
Christchurch arts Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand
Rangi Ruru, Christchurch, New Zealand
William Hodges Fellowship, New Zealand


Wallace Art Awards, Development award winner “Song of the Grey Ghost”
Waikato art Award merit award “It’s Happening Again”