By Sarah Williams, Staff Writer
Veronica Cross redefines the woman’s body in She’s (not) There: The Remix, her fascinating show running from October 15th through November 15th at the UMF Art Gallery. In Cross’s web statement, she poses an interesting question: What would it look like if the female figure were absent but her presence seemed tangible? Cross talks about a conceptual “blank canvas” of the figure’s vacant body being like a screen onto which we can project our desires.
Cross elaborated on her artistic beginnings. “I am a third generation artist, so visual expression has always been present for me,” said Cross. “The work in She’s (Not) There: The Re-Mix was initiated a year ago, yet the work relates to the Third Wave Feminist paintings I was doing in New York in the late 1990s.”
“Sometimes it is necessary to return to earlier ideas, arriving at new conclusions or identifying new questions,” said Cross. She was originally trained as a printmaker and found a way to combine painting with methods of working with paper.
There are three things that distinguish her show from her previous work. “Firstly, I employ the silhouette of the female body. Secondly, I am working much more intuitively, mining my subconscious and permitting associations to drive the work, such as identifying certain elements as stand-in for ‘femaleness’, such as hair,” said Cross. “And the third innovation is my employment of scraping away the paint; this is a symbolic gesture that relates to the concepts that inform the work and it also confounds the intention of painting, which is to ‘add’ pigment to a surface.”
These Anti-Paintings as Cross has christened them, are envisioned as a space of alterity within the canon of painting.
Her works stand for themselves as though a veil has been removed from the female form. Cross is inspired by many artists, more recently by German Expressionism, Chris Ofili, Punk Rock, 19th century landscape painting, Louise Bourgeois, Arthur Rimbaud, Diane Gamboa, Rumi, ukiyo-e, Arthur Pinkham Ryder, Hitchcock films, the American Modernists, and so on.
Cross finds these symbolic elements while drawing when she is very tired or just upon waking. This unusual process permits her to draw inspiration from that particular state of mind.
Her favorite own personal pieces of Art are Nature Grrrl and Sirens. These are both recently created large-scale works.
“I feel that they express something visually that I cannot put into words using a mash-up of imagery and references from pop culture, art history, and my own experience. And they are BIG.” Cross said.
She’s (not) There: The Remix will be running from October 15th through November 15th at the UMF Art Gallery.