Uncontaminated Paradise by Mark Cross
Hyperrealism Magazine #14 – March issue 2021
The reasons that can spur a person endowed with artistic ambitions to produce art can be many: some artists create with the pure aim of showing their talent, focusing all attention on technical virtuosity, and sometimes creating memorable pieces of art, which deserve to be alongside the old masters' artworks on the walls of prestigious museums; other artists, equally able to show off the highest technical level, are also driven to creation by activist vocation; they decide to put their creativity and talent in favor of important causes, using art as a means of raising awareness, thus managing to give art a purpose beyond that of generating beauty. We can say that this category of artists succeeds in discrediting the thought of Oscar Wilde who, speaking of art, said "All art is completely useless. The only excuse for having done something useless is to admire it intensely." But when both approaches coincide in a single artist, then we can say that we are encountering something truly unique.
Just take a look at the intense portfolio of the New Zealand artist Mark Cross, to immediately understand that we are faced with something rare: pictorial works executed with a precious technique that have natural landscapes typical of his homeland as their subject. The first sensation you get when looking at Cross's works of art is that you are witnessing the representation of the purest beauty, the beauty of uncontaminated nature. This feeling is singular because in his works there is often the presence of people, but his figures seem an integral part of the landscape: one never gets the impression of having a nature dominated by the human kind. These are works that, in addition to highlighting a marked sensitivity for beauty, try to stimulate the observer's reflexivity, placing his attention in a subtle way, on the causes of the issues that generally concern the preservation of the planet.
In this regard the artist told us: "I think I have always been something of a futurist and so I started studying human behaviour and other human related issues such as environmentalism. Avoiding currently topical subjects I've tired to create a narrative that is a generalisation of the causes of these various issues, in particular the conflict or tension between opposing forces and the impossibility of reconciling this polemic. In the works that deal with the environment the narrative is a little more obvious but I also try to give the paintings a title that might act as a key to a greater understanding of what I am trying to say."
Mark Cross's painting are among the more representative works of today's era: a perfect example of contemporary realism that invites us to meditate on fundamental questions that concern us all.
"In my idealistic youth I believed art could change the world more than merely reflect it. I'm not so sure now, however I think if one has the passion, knowledge and the tool to attempt it, the should not hold back."
- MARK CROSS