By Jacob Cutler
“Crossover,” an exhibition featuring the work of Doug and Mia Cross, is on view at Fountain Street Gallery through July 1. This is the first exhibition in which the father-daughter duo has created work together. The main thesis of the exhibition was that the two artists would have a prompt of some sort. The two artists were using the prompts to explore the debate of “nature” vs “nurture.” The words varied from anxiety, to home and to blue. The two artists each had their own distinct interpretations of the prompts and worked within their own mediums. Doug’s pieces ranged from metal and wood sculptures to installations, while Mia’s work featured oil paintings and some installations.
As one walks into the gallery, the first thing that is noticed is how the works are sequenced. While the obvious grouping is by prompt, the way the curator hung the pieces is what makes the exhibition stand out. There is less context for the work than if one were to look at each piece individually. Notably so is how Doug Cross’s “Push” was paired with Mia Cross’s “The Color Blues I Would Miss the Most If I Went Blind Part 2.” These pieces were made in reaction to the prompt anxiety.
Doug’s piece, a metal box with a big red button, and Mia’s oil painting of different shades of blue instill anxiety, juxtapose each other. Doug’s sculpture calls for an immediate anxious state. The viewer standing in front of the sculpture has every temptation to push its button and grow anxious by the fact that the button cannot be pushed because it is a part of the art. Mia’s paintings represents a state of anxiety that slowly but surely eats away at someone’s sanity. While the painting is beautiful, and features a wide array of blue, the artist is painting these shades of blue because they are afraid of the possibility of never being able to see her favorite shades of blue. It is an existential crisis that is slowly fueled by an anxiety of an uncertain future.
Another notable grouping is Doug Cross’s “Meditation Squares” and Mia Cross’s “Color Studies 1-6.” Doug’s squares made of various metals and wires and Mia’s small oil paintings on wood blocks are placed in a way in which they were almost made for each other. On the wall, the two different pieces are hung so that they make a large square, but the meditation squares from a cross and the color studies fill in the empty spaces. In a way, the meditation squares represent the bare bones or a foundation and the color studies are being protected by the squares. One could also argue that the meditation squares are actually imprisoning the color studies within a cage. Without this grouping, one would look at these two works individually and have a completely different understanding of what they are seeing.
Without taking the time to going to the gallery, one will not be able to fully appreciate how these works are truly meant to be seen together. While the works of the individual artists seems to contrast each other, the work represents how even a father and daughter can look at the same word differently. The ability to see how Doug and Mia Cross interpret their prompts, but still are able to draw connections between the works, is truly spectacular. Located in the heart of SOWA, Fountain Street will have Crossovers on display until July 1 with a second artist reception taking place on Saturday, June 23, from 6-8 p.m.
(“Crossover: Mia Cross and Doug Cross” continues through July 1 at Fountain Street, 460C Harrison Avenue, Suite 2, Boston. For more information, call (617) 292-4900.)