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AST Juried Exhibition0.jpg
Winner of the Summer 2011 Competition
Art as a medium for change.
2nd Place Winner.jpg
oil on canvas
48 x 72 in
5200. usd        

artist statement

My paintings depict modern socioeconomic struggles and illustrate how our present culture reflects history.  Although I work from imagination, my subject matter is real.  Most of what I paint I have observed, neighborhoods and infrastructure crumbling, people succumbing to drug abuse and the negative effects of an unhealthy environment and poor diet.  I am drawn to desperation, the fact that those most vulnerable rarely escape poverty and degradation.

Since I spent much of my childhood exploring woods and swamps, nature is ever-present in my art.  I attempt to convey atmospheric conditions as well as the fact that nature reclaims even the most urban cityscape.

I paint in oil on canvas using rough sketches for composition and photographs for detail.  While my work has elements of Surrealism and Regionalism, it is actually more akin to Primitivism.  Outsider artwork lacks inhibitions and constraints exhibited in many works by trained artists.  This free-flowing approach to painting continues to influence my style and technique to this day.

Popular opinion says that political art is insignificant, that the subject matter becomes outdated too quickly to merit serious critique.  But there have been many famous politically charged works of art that have stood the test of time such as Goya’s The Third of May, Picasso’s Guernica, and Peter Blume’s The Eternal City. These paintings remain as relevant now as when they were painted. 

It is in spirit of these great works that I created Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.  I have attempted to illustrate current American conflicts of racism, crime and punishment, the embrace of torture and extraordinary rendition, the rise of religious extremism, sexism, and home grown terrorism in our society. 


Wendy Cross was born in Wilton, Connecticut in 1965.  She learned to paint and draw from her grandmother who was also a painter.  She painted her first painting in oils at age 11. In 1989 Wendy earned a BFA from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Living in the Midwest was an eye-opening experience.  After growing up in one of the wealthiest communities in the nation, Fairfield County, Connecticut, she found herself in one of the poorest, Athens County, Ohio.  Although the city of Athens is itself a typical quant college community, its outlying areas typify Appalachian poverty.

Wendy lived in Athens County from 1984 to 1997.  At this time, Ohio experienced the devastation of the Farm Crisis in which thousands of farms were foreclosed due to falling grain prices.  In addition to rural devastation, major cities such as Cleveland and Akron lost thousands of jobs as work forces were slashed and jobs moved overseas.

Wendy returned east in 2006.  Back in New England she was struck by the numerous factory towns with closed factories, ghostly shells of their former selves.  Her art evokes the economic loss experienced in much of America for the past three decades.

She lives in central Connecticut with her partner and five dogs.