Dorothy Cross: Glance

02 Dec 2017 – 11 Feb 2018

Dorothy Cross (b. 1956) is one of Ireland's most important international artists and we are delighted that she will be showing at the New Art Centre for the first time this winter. Cross makes both discrete objects and large-scale works and she is well-known for using diverse media, from found and constructed items to opera, photographs and film. For this exhibition, her focus is a series of substantial new sculptures, including a large bed carved in Carrara marble. Glance, the title of the exhibition, suggests both the visual and the physical: a look that can change vision or a touch that shifts one's trajectory, which can be fleeting and tentative, but at times have powerful consequences. This duality demonstrates Cross' interest in subtlety and nuance and is entirely appropriate for an artist whose use of language actively resists reductive circumscription.


Often beautiful and lyrical, always intellectually stimulating and physically arresting, Dorothy Cross' work can also be ludic and disturbing. Central to her practice are the major themes of time and the body, human time and geological time, transition, transformation and memory. Moreover, she has a particular interest in the natural world and our relationship to it, which makes her work particularly fitting for the rural idyll which is Roche Court. For Cross the natural world is a threatened territory of beauty, a place of constant change, it is this fluidity that inspires a series of strange and unexpected encounters. Based on the west coast of Ireland, a deep sense of place pervades Cross' work. Many of her pieces have previously incorporated objects found locally on the seashore, including boats and whale skeletons. However, these new works respond specifically to the exhibition space at Roche Court, which Cross refers to as a 'transparent bladder' connecting the house to the Regency orangery. Several of the works present a type of disembodiment and body fragments - finger-tips cast in gold, hands and feet cast in bronze, a gilded skull - suspended from the ceiling and grounded by circles of translucent alabaster on the floor.


Dorothy Cross has exhibited globally and some of her most recent shows include J.M. W. Turner and contemporary art practice, New Art Gallery, Walsall (2017); Mystics and Rationalists and It's Me to the World, both Modern Art Oxford (2016); Trove at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2015); Eye of Shark at Lismore Castle Arts, Co. Waterford (2014), Connemara, Turner Contemporary (2013) and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2014). She has also participated in the Venice Biennale (1993), Istanbul Biennial (1997) and Liverpool Biennial (1998). Cross took part in the ground-breaking exhibition Bad Girls at the ICA London and CCA, Glasgow in 1994. Her opera works include Chiasm (1999); Pergolesi's Stabat Mater (2004); and Riders to the Sea (2008). Her work is in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Norton Collection, Santa Monica; Art Pace Foundation, Texas; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Goldman Sachs Collection, London; The Arnolfini Trust, Bristol; Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, Dublin; and Tate Modern, London, amongst many others.

Work in progress: 'Bed', Image courtesy Studio Nicoli, Carrara, Italy