My current series includes video, paintings, and photographs. I use different media as expressions of a singular yet fluid concept; this body of work is driven by the video Where Are You, (2019) though overall, the project has been long in the making. Where Are You employs footage of Louisiana’s waterways as metaphor for impermanence and regeneration. I have been contemplating the ways we as a species and we as members of families and communities can achieve a sense of being grounded, particularly within shifting landscapes and political instability.
Last year, I purchased ten old bulletin boards that were covered in generations of photos and press clippings of an old New Orleans family. Over time, the spaces between the photos had become grimy from exposure to nicotine, creating ghostly grids of memories past. Much of my own family history is unknown to me due to the effects of historical trauma and my own memory loss resulting from a coma years ago. In Where Are You, I merge my old family photos and films with the bulletin board grid and moving waterscapes. As I had taken some time away from my studio practice to manage my mother’s health care, our amorphous generational histories have emerged as constant topics of conversation. In Where Are You, the soundscape is presented is as it was onsite, with nature’s “songs” and the flow of human activities. If you listen closely, you will hear a community sharing a transcendent moment.
The bulletin boards also serve as painting frameworks to both follow and disrupt, seeking the poetic over the stable. Metal thumbtacks stand as sentinels for fixed locations of what is in actuality, fleeting. Photographs depict scenes from the many spaces throughout Southern Louisiana in which Where Are You was filmed, some emphasizing the sublime ephemeral and in others, the impact of transitional economies.
Veronica Cross is New Orleans-based visual artist whose practice includes painting, film/video, installation, and wall-based sculptures. Mrs. Cross has also worked as an independent curator, event director, and arts writer. From 2017 to 2018, she was the director of programming at The Gallery at the Tigermen Den in the Bywater and went on to review ballet performances for the city’s online arts journal, revieux.com.
Veronica’s prolonged return to her childhood home of New Orleans has paralleled the trajectory of her studio practice. Narratives steeped in ritual, affect, and poetry emerge as cathartic strategies to over-consumption of femme-bodies; this analysis would later be extended to vulnerable landscapes as well. Her ongoing fascination with representations of hyperbolic femme-bodies was ignited early on by the prominence of her family’s velvet “girlie pin-up” paintings in their French Quarter home. Mrs. Cross’s early series of monumental portraits of Burlesque queens and pinups would eventually develop into storyboards for time-based narratives and installation environments.
From 1989 to 2006, Veronica lived in New York City, where she exhibited frequently and was represented by the Barbara Ann Levy Gallery in its Chelsea and Cherry Grove locations. She attended the School of Visual Arts, SUNY at Stony Brook, SUNY Empire State College, and the Art Students League. Her training as a printmaker prepared her to intern and then work for Master Printer Kathy Caraccio from 1996 to 1998. Another internship with painter Stephanie Rose from 1997 to 2000 developed into an important and enduring friendship. Ms. Rose inspired Cross’s progression to using brushwork and ultimately oils in her large scale spray painted and collaged stencil pieces, resulting in a richer surface quality.
Veronica’s alliances with other artists evolved into several curatorial exchanges. Her initial artist visits between Brooklyn and Cardiff, Wakes (UK) resulted in a series of international exhibitions, such as Stimulata, held at the University of Wales in Cardiff in 2001. In 2004, Cross also received an Emerging Curator's Program Grant from the Ise Cultural Foundation in New York City. Having been a former employee of the historic music club CBGB's and a D.J., Veronica then went on to merge her tenure in various punk/alt music scenes into larger multimedia projects. The lexicons of a broad range of music continue to serve as valuable and significant touchstones in her artwork.
In the ten years in Maine that followed (2006-2016), Cross’s occasional work as an antiques dealer supported her understanding of old objects as totems rife with personal and political symbolism. Of the objects she encountered, the motif of the decaying, vine-covered car became the important signifier of disempowerment, memory, and generative takeovers. The abandoned car in its morphing landscape would become an extension of the trauma body, and a potential candidate for transformation. A series of photographs, paintings, and ultimately, her first narrative video, PASSENGER, 2016 followed. Her work was represented by Aucosisco Galleries and later by the Elizabeth Moss Gallery in Maine.
Veronica Cross received her MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2016, after earning a BA in Art and Entrepreneurial Studies (magna cum laude) from the University of Southern Maine. She has joined the Second Story Gallery here in New Orleans and lives in Treme.