Medium: Steel, stainless steel, automotive paint
Last year, David Cross’ streamlined Vitessence, crisp lines and stylized sleekness projecting motion and movement in flashy red, encapsulated the artist’s acknowledged fascination with the 20th century. After all, he was born, grew up and came to adulthood in its latter decades so naturally there is familiarity and understanding.
As he says, “I am a child off the twentieth century… With little planning and no defined goals, I acted on a decades old desire to create: to use my hands, to make something. I learned to manipulate metals: earthly elements…My sculptural work is deeply rooted in that past century; the portion I witnessed and much that came before.”
Cross is the owner of Rio Bravo Ironworks, out of Elora, Ontario. Largely self- taught, he has fashioned a couple of thriving businesses by adhering to the tried and true traditional methods of forging beautiful keepsakes and practical metal works that are reminiscent of days past in design, quality and construction.
That is not to say his is a nostalgic, anchored in the past persona – far from it. While he admires the designs of the past century, and earlier, in all sorts of fields (architecture, manufacturing, cars, trains and a host of other innovative advancements), he’s all about the future concerning form and function in his business products as well as his public/personal sculpting.
“Forms are always changing, in motion, leading me onward. I see in them something not wholly natural, but they are alive nonetheless; a dialogue and a dance unfolds between the organic and the manufactured…. [it is] always genuine.”
This year’s entry embraces that philosophy spectacularly. Black Swan is sinuously elegant. Semi-abstract, curving, pointed sheets of metal suggest the wings. From the body rises the long arched neck bending halfway up in counterpoint to the turned, deliberately abstracted beak and head.
The lines are wonderfully imagined and executed, minimal but conveying much more. Cross’ Black Swan exquisitely fulfills the idealization of this initially considered mythical, now acknowledged as real, beauty.