Wendy Cross' "War of the Worlds"

‘Ten Years: A Reckoning’ at Springfield Museum of Art

The exhibition showcases 23 canvases artist Wendy Cross has made during the last decade. 

Wendy Cross admits many of the oil paintings she’s created over the last decade are far from palatial. Barren stretches of highway, dusty storefronts and the shells of factories are subjects she returns to again and again.

“With my work, there really isn’t much gray area,” she says. “People either love it or hate it, think it’s amazing or just walk away. But I’ve found that, for the most part, people identify with it because of the universal concerns the images express.”

Through Jan. 12, the Springfield Museum of Art is presenting “Ten Years: A Reckoning,” showcasing 23 canvases Cross has made during the last decade.

The artist explains she didn’t always lean toward thought-provoking themes. After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University, Cross headed west, painting scenes based on landscapes she found in New Mexico and Arizona. But after 9/11, she felt the need to tap into and make a statement about the fears many Americans felt.

“I got away from painting flowers and sunshine,” Cross says. “One of the great things about art is that you can express just what you’re feeling regardless of good or bad. The exhibition is called ‘The Reckoning’ because it represents my coming to terms with what’s going on. It’s a call to action and care.”

Cross does add touches of whimsy to her work, citing “War of the Worlds,” which she painted in 2017. In it, spectators at a drive-in movie are watching a science-fiction thriller, paying no attention to the celestial beauty above.

“Not everything is gloom and doom,” she says. “This image takes us back to a time when the biggest thing most of us had to worry about was combatting the fictional monster on-screen.” 

Springfield Museum of Art, 107 Cliff Park Rd, Springfield 45504, 937/325-4673, springfieldart.net