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Honor Fraser Gallery opens 'Men to Match My Mountains', an exhibition of new works by Rosson Crow
Rosson Crow, Burned Wagon Point, 2021. Acrylic, photo-transfer, and oil on canvas, 72 x 84 inches.

ASPEN, CO.- Over a century since the declared closure of the frontier, the idea of the West as a symbol of freedom has persistently loomed large in the American psyche. In this surreal and hallucinogenic series of paintings, Rosson Crow harnesses her signature maximalist approach to confront the selective nostalgia of American history. Challenging the fetishization of the mythic American cowboy, these large-scale and immersive canvases present the Western landscape through a fun house mirror of projected mythologies, dreams, and anxieties.

For the 19th century American, the newly acquired Western territories composed a seemingly endless expanse, one which held the fantasy of a fresh start in the wilderness. The collision of self-governance with a wealth of natural resources ushered delusions of a great new civilization, one built upon individualistic opportunity, prosperity, and freedom. Inspired by Irving Stone’s monumental saga of the same name, Men to Match My Mountains invokes the powerful legacy of the open frontier, revealing a circuitous undercurrent within the American psyche.

Upon encountering Men to Match My Mountains, we are propelled into a kaleidoscopic wonderland of snow-capped mountains, meteor showers, and turrets of desert flame. Crow’s brush guides the viewer to the realization that nature was never ours for the taking. Hues of orange and purple dance and refract under an ominous solar eclipse, as we are pushed through the perils of an untamable and devouring landscape. The eye is simultaneously transfixed and bombarded as it glides past the remains of a burned out desert Wagon Point, ascends into a milky way littered with the debris of 1840s space junk, and lingers on the edge of a waterfall consuming the possessions of long-forgotten travelers. There is a delicate interplay at the heart of this body of work, one which both asserts and surrenders to the coexistence of beauty and terror, hope and fear, marvel and mundane. Entirely devoid of figures, these trails of abandoned objects puncture the sprawl of divergent terrain, evoking the memory of dreamers long gone.

In a landscape so inextricably tied to ideals of freedom, in a narrative which so seldom held a place for women, Rosson Crow offers us an alternative vision of the American West. Serving as a portal through which to examine the emotional memory of a damaged nation, Men to Match My Mountains provides a whimsical albeit sobering account of a midnight sun that never sets. There will always be a frontier on our horizon, from visions of the New World and the Wild West, to explorations in the Space Race and Internet Age; we will always dream of a better future. It is this dream that drives our desire for incessant expansion, our desire to conquer the next frontier, our desire for power. Perhaps we don’t have as much control over our world as we once thought. And, perhaps it was never ours to control. Despite what some may continue to believe, men will never be a match for the mountains.

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