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A Painter Transformed a Gallery into a 35-Foot Galactic Universe

Andy Cross posits his interpretation of the universe and its celestial bodies in his show 'Cosmic Spandex' at Sardine.

Starry nights and urban cities don’t mix, as light pollution overpowers constellations and planetary visages, leaving the moon to glow by its lonesome self. In an effort to reconcile our astral divide, artist Andy Cross presents his own interpretation of the cosmos in his show at Brooklyn's Sardine gallery. Cosmic Spandex transforms the normally white exhibition space into a sprawling, hand-painted galactic universe, accompanied by hung groupings of drawings organized to form aesthetically poignant constellations.

The artist’s 10' x 35' rendition of the universe isn’t intended to be a representation of our actual cosmic landscape, rather it is a sort of abstract distillation of Cross’ mind spit out on the enormous canvas. “Outer space is the mysterious backdrop to life on earth—the curtain to the world stage. I did not reference any photos, but rather just thought of it as a large abstraction,” Cross says. “The one key to painting it is that the canvas lay flat on the studio floor, which enables the turpentine to bleed outward creating the nebula-like effects and star halos. As long as you blend appropriate colors together and drop in enough silver dot, the image of space emerges organically out of the black background.”

There is one element in Cosmic Spandex that departs entirely from any planetary reference: the elegant wooden frames upon which the drawings rest were each handmade by Roger William Cross II, the artist’s late grandfather. This choice is both a nod to his grandfather’s influence on his artistic career and a way to depart from what could be an overly scientific exhibition.

“I don’t know exactly what to call it. It isn’t telepathic, maybe synchronicity? But I believe the nonlinear theme to the overall exhibition is heightened through the unplanned collaboration with my late grandfather,” says Cross. “Imagine if I bought pre-fabricated, factory metal frames, then the show would have a more scientific display feel to it. Everything matters, and beyond the sentimental value the frames hold for me, I believe they provide the perfect amount of handmade and craft to give the show a ‘high and low’ balance: The expansiveness of space informed by my family’s traditions and framed by the fruits of my grandfather’s labor.”

Cosmic Spandex just finished its run at Sardine, but an archive of Andy Cross’ work can be explored here

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