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.
'Ever since Hogarth there have been British artists who have reflected on life as it is really lived, but viewed from the grotesque side. In the twentieth century this has taken on an added intensity one might call expressionist in the work of artists like Stanley Spencer, William Roberts and Carel Weight. As in their work so in Crook's, there is a feeling that something odd lies just beneath the surface: these ordinary people going about their ordinary business are somehow set apart, irradiated by a strange otherworldly light; for all their ordinariness, they are marching to a different drummer. And in fact, despite her almost defiant Britishness, it is not by chance that she has worked so much with French galleries and is so highly valued abroad. The strangeness in her works may also recall a very different order of strangeness, that of Surrealists like the great Belgian Delvaux, master of moonlit mystery. Crook's paintings have the unexpectedness of real life and the hallucinatory clarity of a dream. The art has excellent connections, but finally it stands on its own feet and confidently possesses its own personal world.'
John Russell Taylor in 'The Times'
'Witty, menacing, enigmatic, playing games with the eye and the imagination.'
'The artist is a virtuoso in the mischievous art of beguiling our perceptions and expectations - her work is a disconcerting meditation on our assumptions of reality.'
Beatrice Comte in 'Le Figaro'