Mark Cross. the water bathers
Born in Auckland in 1955, Mark Cross began making art during his mid teens. At the age of 23 he moved with his family to his wife’s village, Liku, on the island of Niue and it was during these early years that a strong philosophic and stylistic foundation was established for his career as an Artist. There was disillusionment with the institutional oriented nature of the art scene in New Zealand and the isolation provided both the inspiration and lack of distraction needed to develop his work in an individualistic way.
Having achieved this he returned to New Zealand in 1982 in order to find a market for his work and since then he has developed a reputation as one of the South Pacific’s leading realist Artists.
Cross now divides his time between studios in Niue and New Zealand and although the work is very specific in it’s detail, reference to these countries is restricted to the use of local elements for the creation of a timeless, lateral world where his figures act out and question the foibles of humanity but never try to proffer answers.
The linear perspective of history has been replaced by a cyclical understanding of time, an understanding that the Artist has achieved by his closeness to nature while in Niue. Cross’s figures are totally integrated with the landscape and there’s never a feeling that nature is dominated by human kind. This is the basis of a complex philosophy that the Artist transfers into his images and in their ethereal, visionary way the works warn of the dire ecological imperatives that face both a small island and a planet.
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.