Gene Crowe’s work celebrated at photography exhibition
The Center des arts is pleased to host the Gene Crowe retrospective exhibition at the Granucci Gallery starting October 28. Gene Crowe was a longtime teacher and artist in Nevada City who passed away two years ago and this exhibit is a celebration of his life’s work. Gene’s wife and children have curated a selection of his photographs, archival processing and print to honor the life and work of the late artist. Alumni and family members will give a short talk at the opening reception, and because Gene’s family was unable to celebrate his life at the time of his death, the Center will hold a memorial service and a closing reception on December 1 at the Marisa Funk Theatre. . A portion of proceeds from gallery sales will go to the “Gene Crowe Memorial Photography Scholarship” to benefit Nevada Union High School photography students.
Crowe began his teaching career at Nevada Union High School in 1964 and spent the last forty years of his life in Nevada City. He attended the College of Marin and San Francisco State College, where he earned a BA in Art, a high school diploma in Art, and a minor in History. He then did graduate work in photography at Sacramento State University. For many years, until the early 2000s, Crowe taught art and photography at NUHS and Sierra College.
Crowe credited his “Uncle Steve”, photographer Edgar Stephenson, with sparking his interest in photography. He was about eleven years old when he first saw his uncle doing magic in his darkroom. Stephenson was one of the notable photographers who attended the San Francisco Art Institute after World War II. Other artists and photographers Crowe has cited as influences include Jack Welpott, Don Worth, Roger Vail, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Erich Salomon and Charles Sheeler.
Crowe has described his work as variations on direct photography with minimal manipulation and has called his process “intentional photography”. He once wrote: “There is pleasure in composing the image so that the photograph functions as a whole, and not as a collection of unintended parts. The possibility of failure is the threat that makes success all the more exhilarating. In all my work, I am aware of painter Frank Stella’s notion that you don’t know how good an idea is until it’s hung on the wall.
Over the years, Crowe has experimented with many photographic processes and explored many themes. One series consists of large color botanical prints on acid-free watercolor paper. The exhibition also presents images made from paper negatives; a process that begins with scanning transparencies to create paper negatives, which are then contact printed and processed in the darkroom.
Other topics included the ruins of Cistercian abbeys in England and Scotland, life in urban and rural China, the pre-renovation of the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, street scenes in Nevada City and a project focusing on The small things “.
Crowe’s art and photography has been featured in numerous galleries and several other venues in the Sacramento/Nevada City area. A longtime member of the Viewpoint Gallery, he was also a member of the Artists’ Collective of the Osborn Woods Gallery at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City.
His family established a scholarship fund, the Gene Crowe Memorial Photography Scholarship, to be awarded annually to graduate photography students at Nevada Union High School. Gene Crowe died in 2020 and is survived by his wife, Judy, three children and five grandchildren. Her art lives on in a variety of media, including paintings and drawings, wood and stone carving, jewelry and photography. The exhibit closes December 3, with a memorial service presentation at the Marisa Funk Theater at the Center on December 1. Hours of operation for the Granucci Gallery are Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
Source: The Arts Center