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.
- 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”