Mark CROSS ✿

This painting refers to the several oceanic gyres around that world, current systems that tend to collect in their vortex's the detritus of the consumer societies which surround them. Most poignant to Pacific and to the world is the North Pacific Ocean Gyre - often called the Pacific Garbage Patch - which collects the consumer junk from North America and Asia creating huge floating masses of mainly plastic in its convergence zone North of Hawaii. This plastic does not decompose for many thousands of years but breaks down into ever smaller particles which are consumed into the food chain at every level. I have used recent garbage here for visual effect but it is a metaphor for the broken down polymers and other chemical sludge that permeate the upper columns of these oceanic vortexes. This, while using the pristinely clear waters of Niue ironically suggests what the Northern Pacific must have been like and warning the South Pacific of what it could be like without attention paid to such issues.

This is a sweeping generalisation that the most pressing problems in the world today are the result of complacency of the masses not to mention the people with the power to change things. So we have here a group of young people entertained by something outside the painting frame (perhaps television) while oblivious to an open dump-site of  consumer garbage being burnt off behind them.

Born in Auckland in 1955 (New Zealand), Mark Cross is considered one of the South Pacific's leading contemporary realist painters. Dividing his time between studios in Auckland and the central Polynesian island of Niue, Mark Cross works are sought after by collectors from the Pacific rim and further afield. Employing landscapes often with people in them, Mark Cross works are well known for imparting a social message that speaks of mankind's delinquent abuse of his home the Earth. They speak of the world but are intrinsically Pacific. The works submitted here are highly detail paintings in oils using the medium liquin to build up the painting surface with as many as 8 transparent and opaque layers of paint. Fine watercolor brushes and other techniques are used to develop a subtley grainy feel to the surface. Mark Cross has achieved through his work a uniqueness that avoids the trappings of regionalism, so often associated with realism, and replaces them with an acutely perceptive worldview. During the nineties however the artist has ventured into other areas of art production with the establishment of a sculpture park in the rain forest in the east of Niue. A collaboration with his wife and several other artists, crafts people and musicians saw the creation of the Shrine to Abundance, an installation inside a shipping container that toured Australia, New Zealand and went to Rarotonga more recently. His paintings however are his main focus and are to be found in many private and corporate collections in Australasia, America and Europe.

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