Kerlin Gallery is delighted to present a solo presentation by Dorothy Cross as part of 'Indra’s Net', curated by Sandhini Poddar at Frieze London 2022.
Representing over 30 years of work the selection, incorporating sculpture, film and photography examines the relationship between living beings and the natural world. Cross's works stage unexpected encounters between plants, animals, body parts and everyday objects, resulting in strange, hybrid forms that range from the lyrical, sublime and meditative, to the erotic, humorous and playful.
Dorothy Cross in the studio, a film by Tristan Hutchinson, 2022
In 2009, Dorothy Cross travelled to Tahiti to place five finger-tip bones from a human hand into five black-lipped oysters. A year later, the oysters had rejected four of the bones, but had covered the tip of the index finger with iridescent nacre - creating a skin of pearl around our point of touch. The result, Fingertip Pearl, is a precious sculpture made over time in a unique exchange with the natural world. Fingertip Pearl, like many of Cross’s works, explores the role of the body and both the delicacy and primacy of human touch in our understanding of the world.
In Jellyfish Lake (2002), shot in Palau, Micronesia, the artist floats passively in a lake populated by tens of thousands of Rhizostomeae Jellyfish. We watch the jellyfish become the inquisitors as they circle the figure, barely touching the body time and time again. It appears that this creature, which is 98% water and has no discernible brain, is engaged in a study of us: an unsettling inversion of our normal relationship to nature. The result is a beautiful rhythmic navigation between the alien creature and the passive human.
The presentation also includes Screen/Ladies Changing Room (1990-91), from Cross’s early and pivotal exhibition Power House at the ICA Philadelphia (1991). Made during a residency in an unoccupied electricity generation station in the docklands of Dublin, the work presents four workman’s hats cast in bronze behind a changing room screen. Upon closer inspection, we see that the bronze hats are also female breasts, each with a cast of the artist’s nipple.
about the artist
b. 1956, Cork, Ireland.
Living in Connemara, a rural area on Ireland’s west coast, the artist sees nature, the ocean and the body as sites of constant change and flux. Her works harness this fluidity and generative power, staging unexpected encounters between plants, animals, body parts and everyday objects, resulting in strange, hybrid forms that range from the lyrical, sublime and meditative, to the erotic, humorous and playful.
Her sculptures might incorporate classical materials such as Carrera marble, cast bronze or gold leaf alongside discarded antiques, old boats, washed up jellyfish, whale bones or animal skins found on the shore. Treating these materials with equal reverence, Cross honours the legacy of art history but also the geological and ecological histories that far predate it, reflecting upon our place within the environment. Her works also draw upon a rich store of symbolic associations across cultures to investigate the construction of religious, social and sexual mores, subjectivity, memory and vulnerability.
Dorothy Cross has exhibited in museums including MoMA PS1; ACCA, Melbourne; Tate, St Ives; ICA, Philadelphia; Modern Art Oxford; Turner Contemporary, Margate; the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol and Camden Arts Centre, London. In recent years, her solo exhibitions and projects include Libby Leshgold Gallery, Vancouver (2018); New Art Centre, Roche Court (2017) and a collaborative performance with Lisa Hannigan at Sounds from a Safe Harbour, Cork (2019). Recent group exhibitions include University College Dublin; Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry (both 2021); Fries Museum, The Netherlands (2020); the National Gallery of Ireland; the Irish Museum of Modern Art; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio (all 2019) and Linda Pace Art Foundation, San Antonio (2018). Cross has participated in the Venice, Istanbul and Liverpool biennales.
with support from