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Bartley Company Art is pleased to present Maryrose Crook's first solo exhibition with the gallery and her first exhibition in the North Island for several years. {Inland Seas} follows a period of travel for Crook, who returned to New Zealand in 2009, after living and exhibiting in Berlin and then in Beijing on The Red Gate Artist Residency Programme. Crook started painting seriously in the mid 1990s and quickly attracted attention, particularly in the South Island where she has a strong following. Within a year of showing her first paintings in a Dunedin cafe, she had an exhibition at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Since then she has exhibited widely and won a range of residencies and awards including the 2006 Wallace Development Award.
}Drawing on painting's history, Crook has created fantastical landscapes, seascapes and dreamscapes. Her richly rendered and detailed oil paintings disrupt expectations with their surprising assemblages of imagery from diverse worlds and sensibilities, combining for example, distinctly New Zealand images with Victorian hoop dresses or indigenous flora and fauna in settings referencing Renaissance or Rococo traditions. Recurring motifs such as Rotorua's pink and white terraces, kokako and swallows operate metaphorically to suggest ideas of loss or threat but meaning, like that of dreams, is fluid.

The sea has been prominent in Crook's music and is a dominant thread in this new body of work. Her recent travels have also contributed an added dimension with an Asian influenced iconography surfacing and contributing to the show's title. "Beijing although an inland city felt like the sea," she says, "its layers, currents, huge complexity and ocean of humanity."