Above: The Red Baroness, Mia Cross (Oil)
“Color Me In” - an exhibit of remarkable oil paintings by Mia Cross - features whimsical yet wistful portraiture composed from a mosaic of color swatches and patterns, and inspired by the artist’s love of vintage objects and clothing. Mia Cross graduated with a BFA from the College of Fine Arts of Boston University in 2014, where she double majored in painting and sculpture. In 2016, Cross received the Emerging Artist Award at the Danforth Museum Art Annual and was honored to receive a Blanche E. Colman Grant. More recently, Cross was selected as a finalist for the Walter Feldman Fellowship, and, in October of 2016, she served as the Goetemann Artist in Residence in Gloucester, MA. In 2017 Cross was featured in the 36th Volume of Studio Visit Magazine, was awarded a Mass MoCA Match Savings Grant, and received a Bruce J. Anderson Grant to exhibit a curated show at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center in Gloucester. This fall she will attend the Vermont Studio Center as an artist in residence under a Boston University Alumni Fellowship Grant. Cross is a member of Fountain Street Gallery in Boston, and is represented by 13FOREST Gallery in Arlington. She exhibits throughout New England and New York in juried and invitational exhibitions and her work can be found in numerous collections including the Hotel Commonwealth of Boston. Her work can be viewed at www.miacross.com.
“Most recently I’ve been focusing on figurative work and depicting faces. Not only do I love the challenge of portraying a person—their character, their mood, and subtle idiosyncrasies—I also enjoy the possibilities that come with depicting flesh. With such a range of hues, could there be a more exciting place than the skin that encircles an eye? It is in these moments that I push and create color relationships—sometimes harmonious, sometimes dissonant—stitching them all together like a quilt.
Another common thread throughout my work is a focus on narrative. Many times, I begin a work by asking myself ‘what if….?’ For example, ‘what if the girl traded patterns with the couch, or what if her hair never stopped growing?’ While my older work invokes narrative in an immediate way, my recent portraits do so through more subtle details. The glint in an eye, the blush of a cheek, even the turn of a collar, invite the viewer to engage his or her imagination to construct a bigger story. For this reason, many of the characters I paint have a similar ‘in between’ expression, it can’t immediately be placed, but could read in many ways. The viewer might find themselves staring straight back!
A large part of my process is layering paint and leaving hints of a painting’s former stages. Whether it is keeping the first spontaneous mark visible, or allowing a small peek into a pattern past, I want the viewer to keep searching and uncovering the work’s story. This notion grew out of my love for collecting vintage objects and clothing. I’m intrigued by the stories that these mysterious objects have to tell. If we are lucky, sometimes clues are left behind. I want to capture this feeling in my work, that it has been places, that it has taken so many forms you feel inclined to sit and chat with it. Surely if you stay and look long enough, it will reveal itself to you.” (Mia Cross)