Design

Artist Turns Helicopter Rides and MRIs into Abstract Masterpieces

by Laura Feinstein

February 16, 2015

 

Crown, The Sublime and the Center, 2015, install, © Paula Crown, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York, photo by Molli Wentworth

Landscapes are everywhere, sometimes it just takes a creative eye to see them. In the past, artist Paula Crown has managed to locate new terrain in the least obvious places, from her very own MRI scans to the invisible vibrations of a bumpy helicopter ride, captured in pen and ink by the artist mid-flight. Recently, Crown installed her first solo exhibit at the Marlborough Gallery in New York City, a multi-media presentation of new work exploring both real and imagined geography. Titled “THE SUBLIME AND THE CENTER: DIMENSIONS OF LANDSCAPE (Feb 5-Mar 7), the exhibit features painting and sculptural work from the artist’s PERforations and Fractals, part of her Africa Series based on drawings from a helicopter flight above the Drakensberg escarpment in South Africa. Combining a “painterly and geometric intuition”, she materially and dimensionally explores real and virtual space, essentially rendering 2D into 3D through various processes.

Performations 2.1, copyright Paula Crown, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York, photo by Molli Wentworth

“The drawings [made during the flight] had an intriguing line quality, so I continued to investigate them through scanning,” Crown explained. “I worked with Adam Lowe at Factum Arte in Madrid, whose state-of-the-art optical scanner revealed virtual landscapes in the drawings. With intensive magnification and some other computer-based adjustments, the lines were reduced to a series of interconnected triangles.” 

Cloudy.Embedded, copyright Paula Crown, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York, photo by Molli Wentworth

In her PERforations series, also on display, “They started as the beautiful but neglected edges of torn paper from a spiral notebook. As they were dimensionalized in a computer program, they became topologies with remarkably distinctive details.”

Crown, Vitrine install, copyright Paula Crown, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York, photo by Molli Wentworth

“I was particularly interested in how the motion of the helicopter—the chattering of the blades, the piloted direction, and the winds—would affect my drawing,” continues Crown. The results look like missives from another planet, given depth by Crown’s interior topography of the mind.  

Crown, Vitrine install, copyright Paula Crown, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York, photo by Molli Wentworth

 

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Artist Turns Helicopter Rides and MRIs into Abstract Masterpieces