Dorothy Cross: Eye of Shark

11 Nov - 23 Dec 2015 Golden Square

Working in sculpture, film and photography, Dorothy Cross looks at relationships between body and time and the human and the natural world.

For a decade the shark has been a recurring theme in Cross’ practice. In this show of new work by the artist, a preserved shark’s eye is housed within the wall of the gallery itself. Secreted within a reliquary is the organ of vision belonging to an animal that remains mostly hidden to humans and upon which we often project our fears. Here the shark’s eye acts as a metaphor for an alternative vision.


The eye’s gaze falls on an assembly of ancient cast iron bathtubs that partly fill the gallery space. Each empty bath has been lined with gold along the scum line where bodily dirt normally accumulates, suggesting an alchemical transformation from dirt into gold. This line of gold lies at the place where air meets water, delineating the divide between the two elements.


A new bronze work is formed from the casts of a shark’s body and a model submarine. The two are conjoined in a blurred pairing of function and nature, where the ergonomic form of the submarine mirrors that of the shark. Here the submarine, an instrument of discovery as well as destruction, bonds with the shark which is one of the planet’s most ancient and threatened creatures; still largely unknown and existing in an inaccessible realm.


In Buoy the underside of the skin of a Blue Shark has been gilded in precious white gold. The animal’s empty form balances on a painter’s easel below which a thin slab of translucent alabaster sits in the place of a canvas. The stone is cool, smooth and white, and bears the traces of its geological formation.



Dorothy Cross (b. 1956) has exhibited internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include St Carthage Hall, Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore, Ireland (2014), Turner Contemporary, Margate and Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2013). Selected group exhibitions include What We Call Love: From Surrealism to Now, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Cristallisations – la naissance d’un ordre caché, Musée du cristal Saint-Louis, France (both 2015), Crescendo, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014), and Aquatopia, Nottingham Contemporary (2013).


Cross curated the exhibition Trove at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin in 2014.


Eye of Shark was originally commissioned by Lismore Castle Arts.

Installation Views