Cranbrook artist Joseph Cross blends cultural heritage and natural wonder in his oil paintings, pastels and pen-and-ink drawings. He recently embarked upon perhaps his greatest professional challenge: The creation of approximately 100 scenes depicting the explorations, landscape, and people associated with fur trader and mapper David Thompson in the early 1800s.
Born in Saskatchewan in 1949, Cross moved to Cranbrook in 1974, starting his career as a self-taught painter four years later. Several times during his career Joseph has been recognized internationally for his artistic abilities. In 2007 Trout Unlimited Canada selected Joseph as 'Artist of the Year'. Over the years, Joseph has been commissioned by corporations and individuals to produce portraits, paintings and presentations. The Ktunaxa Tribal Council commissioned an historical image of the St. Eugene Mission, which now hangs at the registration desk of the hotel at the St. Eugene Golf Resort.
Cross' art reflects his love of the mountains and the prairies and believes that "Creating connections with our surroundings provides an opening for us to reside in the peacefulness of our inner nature". From his towering mountains, golden fields of grain, turbulent rivers and colourful alpine meadows emanates the glow of a world at peace with itself. This perception is enhanced by the remarkable attention to detail in his landscapes, resulting in a near photographic representation of the subject.
Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that in 2006, Joseph Cross was invited by the Chair of the North American David Thompson Bicentennials Steering Committee to create an exhibition of historically accurate, museum quality paintings depicting central events in Thompson’s remarkable life. No imagery existed to-date to give life to Thompson’s remarkable stories. Joseph accepted the honour and over the course of four to five years, expects to complete approximately 100 paintings related to the David Thompson story. Integral to the project is portraying the role of women in the fur trade, as well as the many indigenous tribes that David encountered. Currently, Cross has completed four paintings in the David Thompson series. "The lasting importance of this large body of work will reside in its significant historical legacy, which will link the continent we had to the continent we have and allow viewers to imagine the continent we want in the future."
Joseph Cross' artwork can be viewed at: Webster Gallery (Calgary, AB), Prestige Fine art (Okotoks, AB), Galerie D'Art Yvon Desgagnes (Baie St.- Paul, QUE) and Jabulani Art Gallery (Vernon, BC). Joseph and his wife Sharon also invite interested parties to contact them at 250-489-4412 to view his artwork in their home studio.
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