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The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross: LAND SCAPE

Installation view of The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross: LAND SCAPE

  • Exhibitions

05 March 2008 - 28 May 2008

Installation view of The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross: LAND SCAPE

The Golden Bough suite, in Gallery Eight of Hugh Lane Gallery, began with a selection of work by artist Dorothy Cross. Entitled ‘LAND SCAPE’ it included the works ‘Midges’, ‘Iris’, ‘Thrush drawing’, ‘Finches’, ‘Endarken’, and ‘Foxglove’. This ensemble refers to land, to growth and decay and to the human in nature: ‘seasonal’ time and ‘life’ time.

A lying woman appears and disappears in a projected work entitled ‘Midges’. She seems dead or unconscious, her sudden resurrection and return to the state where she first appears is perhaps caused by the almost invisible presence of the biting insects. Placed at the opposite end of the gallery is a monitor showing ‘Endarken’. A tiny black spot appears in the centre of a romantic image of an Irish cottage and grows rapidly like the pupil of an eye.

Playing with the presumption of a flower to be symbolically female, ‘Iris’ is an older work of Cross’ taken from the Hugh Lane permanent collection and reworked to appropriate the installation of ‘LAND SCAPE’. The small root formation of the Rhizome is slightly exaggerated appearing phallic and cast in silver.

Three cast bronze ‘Finches’ lie as if in a natural history display. Part of them is made up of the cast from female genitalia isolated and attached to the delicate birds. ‘Thrush drawing’ made by a thrush that flew into a window and died is mounted on the adjacent wall.

A ‘foxglove’ flower cast in bronze with a set of human fingers that form five of the bells is seen in a display case. Cross tells the story of when she was a child “we were told never to place our fingers in a foxglove and then lick them or we would go blind.” A drug called digitalis is extracted from the foxglove and used as heart drug. If one ingests too much digitalis it can make one see only in blue and white.

Curated by Michael Dempsey. Assisted by Jessica O’Donnell.

  • Profile

    Born in Cork, Ireland, in 1956, Dorothy Cross’ work ranges from object to opera: working with sculpture, photography and video. The themes of her work have dealt with memory and inheritance, sexuality and desire, and the position of the human in nature. Her work came to mainstream public attention with her solo show Ebb at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin in 1988. This was followed by several major shows: Powerhouse at the ICA Philadelphia (1991) and Even, at Arnolfini, Bristol, England (1996). These shows were made up of large sculptures that often contained found objects both from her family and from studios such as the Pigeonhouse power station in Dublin Bay where she worked for four years in the early 1990s.

    She represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1993 and the Istanbul Biennial in 1997 with her Udder series. Her best known public work is Ghost Ship, where she painted a de- commissioned lightship with phosphorous paint and moored it in Dublin Bay, where it glowed at night for several weeks in the winter of 1999. In 2013 An Post released a stamp celebrating the Ghost Ship. In 2005 a major retrospective of her work was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Dorothy now lives on the coast of north Galway. She is represented by Kerlin Gallery, Dublin and Frith Street Gallery, London.

Installation view of The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross:
LAND SCAPE

Installation view of The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross:
LAND SCAPE

Installation view of The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross:
LAND SCAPE

Installation view of The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross:
LAND SCAPE

Installation view of The Golden Bough: Dorothy Cross:
LAND SCAPE

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Mrs Lavery Sketching Sir John Lavery 1910