Mark Cross

Mark Cross Painting - New Zealand Artist

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Mark Cross Painting - New Zealand Artist

Born in Auckland in 1955, Mark Cross began making art during his mid teens. At the age of 23 he moved with his family to his wife’s village, Liku, on the island of Niue and it was during these early years that a strong philosophic and stylistic foundation was established for his career as an Artist. There was disillusionment with the institutional oriented nature of the art scene in New Zealand and the isolation provided both the inspiration and lack of distraction needed to develop his work in an individualistic way.

Having achieved this he returned to New Zealand in 1982 in order to find a market for his work and since then he has developed a reputation as one of the South Pacific’s leading realist Artists.

Cross now divides his time between studios in Niue and New Zealand and although the work is very specific in it’s detail, reference to these countries is restricted to the use of local elements for the creation of a timeless, lateral world where his figures act out and question the foibles of humanity but never try to proffer answers.

The linear perspective of history has been replaced by a cyclical understanding of time, an understanding that the Artist has achieved by his closeness to nature while in Niue. Cross’s figures are totally integrated with the landscape and there’s never a feeling that nature is dominated by human kind. This is the basis of a complex philosophy that the Artist transfers into his images and in their ethereal, visionary way the works warn of the dire ecological imperatives that face both a small island and a planet.

Mark Cross has achieved through his work a uniqueness that avoids the trappings of regionalism, so often associated with realism, and replaces them with an acutely perceptive worldview. During the nineties however the artist has ventured into other areas of art production with the establishment of a sculpture park in the rain forest in the east of Niue. A collaboration with his wife and several other artists, crafts people and musicians saw the creation of the Shrine to Abundance, an installation inside a shipping container that toured Australia, New Zealand and went to Rarotonga more recently. His paintings however are his main focus and are to be found in many private and corporate collections in Australasia, America and Europe.


Mark Cross Painting - New Zealand Artist
Mark Cross Painting – New Zealand Artist


Solo Exhibitions

2012          “Works in Transit”. Pierre Peeters Gallery, Auckland
2005          Sheep Country. Real Gallery Auckland
2004          Heta: Power and Fragility. Photographs SOCA gallery Auckland
                      Heta: Power and Fragility. Photographs Whangarei Art Museum
                      Wide Island. Paintings of Central Otago. Milford Gallery, Dunedin
2003          Recent Works: John Leech Gallery Auckland
2002          “Have We Offended” Te Manawa, Museum and Art Gallery
2002          Cook islands National Museum, Cook Is
1998-         Haleiwa Gallery, Hawaii
1997          Woodcuts, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1996          Premier Gallery, Hawaii
1995          “Life Stills” John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1994           Canterbury Society of Arts, Christchurch
                        XPO Exhibitions/John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1993           “Anomalies”, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1991            John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1989            Auckland Society of Arts, Auckland
                         North Gallery, Whangarei
                         Baycourt Cultural Centre, Tauranga
1988            Canterbury Society of Arts, Christchurch
                         Huanaki Cultural Centre, Niue
1987            QEII Arts Council Funded touring exhibition
                          NSA Whangarei
                          ASA Auckland
                          WSA Hamilton
1985             Molesworth Gallery Wellington

Group Exhibitions

2010-              Connect Gallery, Wil, Switzerland
2010 –             Minima Gallery, Mykonos, Greece
2005               Invitation Lightbox Exhibition: (Foreshore Archive) SOCA Gallery 
                      Invitational Screen Exhibition: (Six Days and the Pacific) SOCA
2003               “Exiles in Paradise”, With Mahiriki Tangaroa, Beachcomber Gallery, Rarotonga
2002               Tulana Mahu Installation, Cook Island National Museum
2001               Tulana Mahu Installation, Manawatu Museum and Art Gallery, NZ
2000               Tulana Mahu Installation,Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, Australia
1999-2000       Tulana Mahu Installation, Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia
1996               “Nukututaha: Art From Niue; The Lane Gallery Auckland
1996               “Landscapes” Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
1995               Drawings; Joint exhibition with John Pule, The Lane Gallery, Auckland
1993-1994       “Real Vision”; Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Chrischurch
1993               “Portray Portrait”; Morgan le Fay Gallery, Auckland
1992               Joint exhibition/book launch; Blue Angle Gallery Auckland
1990               “NZ Realists” Charlotte H Galleries, Auckland
1989               NZ Artists; Mezzanine Gallery, Brisbane
1986               Denis Cohn Gallery, Auckland
                             ASA Gallery, Auckland
1984               Molesworth Gallery, Wellington

Awards and Grants

2014               Highly Commended in the Adam Portrait Prize, NZ Portrait Gallery
2006               Winner of the Auckland section of  the traveling “Coexistence”
                       exhibition originated in Jerusalem
1991               Merit Award, Birkenhead Trust Art Award
1990               Winner of the Central King Country Visual Arts Trust Award
1989               Winner of the Waitakere Licensing Trust Art Award
1987               QEII Arts Council, New Artist Promotion Scheme
                             Winner of the Bledisloe Medal for Landscape
1985               Finalist, Team MacMillan Ford Art Award
1984               Finalist, Team MacMillan Ford Art Award
1983               Winner of the Polynesian Airlines Short Story Award

Publications (written by artist)

2002               Introduction to Mark Cross “Have We Offended”
2000               “The Hyper-Decentralisation and Dissolving of Art Frameworks”,
                       Australia Pacific History Conference Online Contribution. National Museum
                       of Australia.
1999               “Tahiono Art Collective; The Paradox of Isolation”, Australia Art Monthly
1993               “Liku and the New Hiapo of John Pule”, Art New Zealand Magazine
1983               “Time on this Island, Tusitala Magazine



  Waitakere  Licencing Trust
  Auckland  University
  Gallery on the Seam, Jerusulem


   Fletcher Challenge, NZ
   Glaxo, NZ
   Skellerup Group, NZ
   Reef Group, NZ


   Various collections in; NZ, Australia,USA, Panama, Canada, Japan, Britian, Switzerland, 
   India, Lebanon


Special Projects

2012              Video collaboration with Darryn Harkness (Auckland) “Float”
2010              Video collaboration with Set Fire to Flames (Montreal) “Language of Moths”
2006-7            Private sector representative on the Niue Tax Reform Steering Committee
2005-6            Activism against the clear-felling of the Niue rain forest
2002               Artist in Residence with the British Consul to the Cook Islands
2000               Email input to the Pacific History Association’s Conference, “Bursting Boundaries”
                      at the Australian National University, Canberra

1999-2003       Organised, Curated and participated in the “Tulana Mahu” (Shrine to Abundance)
                      installation in Niue and shipped to Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, Palmerston North
                      and the Cook Islands
1997 –             Established the Hikulagi Sculpture Park with Funding from the ASPCF.
                      Helped construct first sculpture “Odesyk” by Mikoyan Vekula at Hikulagi
                      Began construction on “Protean Habitat” an ongoing project at Hikulagi
                      Established, coordinated and participated in “Hiapo Foou” a tapa cloth revival
                      project under taken by Kolene Cross and funded by the NZ High Commission to
1996               Established the Tahiono Arts Collective, Niue Island
                      Opened Gallery and Cooperative Sculpture workshop


Mark Cross Website