Deborah Crowe is a visual artist working in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her practice involves building 2D and 3D environments that explore architectural, spatial and environmental characteristics. The work often queries perceptions and of space, place, systems of containing the body, language frameworks or comments on human's impact on the environment. Crowe's most current works, the ongoing series titled Outlook, various large scale temporary public works such as Look See, Nature Wins! and Urban Mesh and site specific projections, Urban Reflections and Dark Light Field incorporate digital collages that record and respond to change in the our environment.
Crowe’s practice acknowledges its origins in woven construction and strong interest in drawing, particularly collage. Her training as a weaver forms a conceptual framework and is embedded in the construction of imagery, fabrication of sculptural objects, installations and approach to research.
Over the past 35+ years Crowe has exhibited in a variety of art and design contexts across and between disciplines. Exhibitions and projects have included textiles, works for the body, fashion design, object, drawing, digital print, photography, public art, sculpture, sound and installation.
Crowe’s work is held in significant collections including Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, The Dowse Art Museum, Aotearoa New Zealand, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland UK, The Arts House Trust, Aotearoa New Zealand and private collections in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Crowe completed her degree and postgraduate study at Glasgow School of Art in 1986, after which she relocated to Aotearoa New Zealand.
Crowe has collaborated with Eldon Booth (filmmaker), Deborah Body (painter) and Kim Fraser (fashion designer). Booth and Crowe's collaborative approach involved a shared interest in repetitive systems, implied motion in space and the re-orientation of raw material; particularly interrogations of ‘aural architecture’.
The Fraser Crowe fashion label was exhibited internationally and won a number of New Zealand Fashion awards in the late 1990’s in high-end womenswear. The collaborative team's catwalk work, characterised by its wearable sculptural forms, incorporated Crowe's signature handwoven copper and nylon pieces and referenced the designers’ respective cultural backgrounds. The retail collections reflected an architectural approach to design, combining classic pieces with garments that integrated detachable or multi functional elements in their construction. In their 2015 - 2019 design phase Fraser Crowe focused on high-end womenswear, cut with minimal waste and utilising Crowe’s digitally printed fashion textiles in which architectural references and organic constructions converged.
Having worked for 28 years with emerging artists through senior lecturing roles and postgraduate supervision, in 2014 Deborah Crowe left institutional education and founded Crowe Creative Art Services, a small business delivering workshops, artist mentoring and art consultation. She practiced from the space she named Studio 1B, adjoining Auckland Council's Studio One Toi Tū community centre for 16 years until establishing Studio 445 with Deborah Body, a large studio and art services space on Karangahape Rd in 2022. A keen contributor to creative communities, Crowe has held various governance roles with Artists Alliance, the New Zealand Fashion Museum and Objectspace's original Working Party and Board of Trustees, and various art funding agencies.