The Adoration, 2006 (acrylic on canvas), Crook, P.J. (b.1945) / Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library
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P.J.Crook's pictures are immediately recognisable by their painted frames. Her images spill out from the canvas, continuing onto the surrounding wood and enticing the viewer into her world. Painted with a surrealist touch, her scenes have a haunting quality. The figures seem frozen in time, caught at a moment of intrigue and deep in their own thoughts. Crook never plans her pictures and starts with little idea of what will ultimately evolve. The paintings themselves are usually set after dark, lit by a lamp which appears in the picture and casts sharp shadows over the action. Her choice of colours, often pastel blue-greens and pinks, gives a mysterious quality to her work. Often she includes a person who is simply watching, a spectator in her world. With a surrealist's sense of humour, she adds mirrors or 'paintings within paintings'. The pictures have a haunting atmosphere, suggesting conspiracy and ominous events.