Dorothy Cross addresses the challenge of portraying the 'human' in relationship to 'nature' and the animal world through her practice, which has ranged from working with jellyfish to whales, shark-callers and snakes, subtly transforming her materials with strange and poetic results.
Philip Hoare, author of 'Leviathan or, The Whale', discusses his own extensive relationship with whales in the wild, and looks at the whale in art and fiction, from Captain Ahab's obsession with the mythical 'Moby Dick', to the way the modern world sees whales and the oceans within which they swim.
Approximate duration: 90 minutes
Dorothy Cross (b.1956, Cork, Ireland)
Dorothy Cross's sculpture and installations often make associations between found and constructed objects, resulting in playful, challenging, and at times subversive works which are both witty and poetic. In her early work she used and transformed a range of natural materials, such as cows' udders and hides, snake skins and taxidermy birds, to explore issues related to desire, as well as cultural and political conventions. In a collaboration with her scientist brother Tom Cross in 2002, she produced Medusae, a film about jellyfish. More recently, her work has focused on time, memory and man's place in relation to the natural world, as in Stalactite, a video of a boy soprano singing below a massive stalactite in the west of Ireland. In Finger Tip Pearl she placed the fingertip bones of a human hand into five black-lipped oysters in a lagoon in Tahiti; around one of them a pearl was formed.
Philip Hoare has had a lifelong obsession with whales. His prize-winning book, Leviathan or, The Whale (first published in 2008), takes us deep into the whale's domain, showing these mysterious and little-understood creatures as they have never been seen before.