Mystics and Rationalists – Modern Art Oxford

I took the opportunity to visit the new exhibition at Modern Art Oxford drawn mostly because is contained the intriguing work of Dorothy Cross.

This exhibition is part of a continuing exploration and celebration of 50 years of contemporary art at MAO. It contains a selection of works by 8 artists that explore nature and the man-made, architecture and light, as well as thought and language.

Dorothy Cross

Dorothy Cross’ work explores form and material whilst juxtaposing natural elements with man-made items. These found items can include animal remnants and within this exhibition human remains.

Dorothy Cross Scales

Scales, 2014

Scales references the balance between the two sides of the brain rational and intuitive, whilst small fragments of meteorite offers us to consider aspects of terrestrial and celestial.



Eye of Shark, 2014

Eye of Shark is a reference to religious ideas of cleansing rituals and how we try to allay our fears of death with religion.

Nine rusty baths have a gold scum line painted within them, lined up as if in church facing a recessed reliquary of a sharks eye watching over the congregation. The Sharks eye is unseen (as God is too),secreted within the wall just as a shark is hidden beneath the water line.

I find the discovery of thought processes and thinking behind works of art fascinating and to me these add to the experience and enjoyment of a work of art. What I don’t understand is why so many galleries refuse to give even a clue as to what this thinking is behind work and Modern Art Oxford is particularly bad at this. It is no wonder to me that whole sections of society remain unengaged with visiting art galleries.



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