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Work of the Week | 16 November 2020

CAG.897 Dorothy Cross, Simeon’s Hut, 1986, mixed media, 89.5 x 65 cm. Purchased, 1988. © the artist.

An early work by Dorothy Cross, Simeon’s Hut (1986) anticipates the artist’s later tendency to incorporate found objects, such as boats, animal or shark skins, in her oeuvre. Comprising a mix of materials, the work can be read from the gravity of lead at its base, with gilded steps leading upwards towards a narrow, vertically placed shaft of timber surmounted by a modest hut.

If we are to seek a narrative context for the work, its form coupled with its title can be taken to refer to Simeon Stylites (c.390-459). This fifth-century ascetic saint lived for 37 years on a platform atop a column near modern-day Aleppo, Syria. Does Simeon’s Hut therefore propose a site of solitary meditation away from busy communal life?

Dorothy Cross (b.1956) is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary artists and her work has been described as “moving from opera to object in a territory between idea and nature.”

Educated at the, then, Crawford Municipal School of Art, Leicester Polytechnic, and San Francisco Art Institute, Cross represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1993. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College Cork in 2009. Her work is also in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Ireland, The Hugh Lane, Ulster Museum, and TATE.

Simeon’s Hut (1986) by Dorothy Cross is featured in lucid abnormalities (Floor 1) until March 2021.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:


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