In Dorothy Cross’s “Blue Dive,” a pair of feet with curled, spread toes breach a rugged fragment of vibrant stone streaked with white veins. The sculpture casts the Connemara-based Cork-born artist’s own extremities into a block of rare Brazilian sodalite, a nod to the fleeting nature of human time in comparison to the longevity and enduring qualities of Earth’s resources.
The rich, stone carving is just one anatomical piece in Cross’s solo exhibition titled Damascus Rose, which is open through April 14 at London’s Frith Street Gallery. From a sleek, tiled walkway to a pillow bearing a single ear, many of the sculptures on view are chiseled into the red-hued titular stone and were born out of the artist’s experience in Carrara, Italy, a region known for its marble.
Like her broader oeuvre, these new pieces consider the body’s relationship to time. Cross’s chronology is lengthy, spanning from the biblical stories of St. Paul to the current crises in Syria that confront “the horror of human evacuation and the thwarted attempts by thousands forced to migrate across oceans to supposedly safer lands,” a statement says. Other works like the uncanny “Red Baby” are more personal and are modeled after the artist’s childhood pillow, portraying an ear protruding from the center where an impression might otherwise be.
Earlier projects fall under similar themes of change and subsequent loss, including a 2019 sculpture in which a small shark emerges from a white marble flooring. The sprawling piece links the marine animal’s 400-million year lineage to the more recent development of the stone and addresses the threat of over-fishing and finning to the current population.
Because of its size, “Red Erratic,” the imposing block topped with multiple pairs of overlapping feet, is unable to be displayed in Frith Street Gallery and instead will be on view during the next year at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens in Cornwall. Cross’s site includes a vast archive of her works across mediums, and it’s worth taking a look at her Instagram to view the carving process.
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