Disillusionment with the what he saw as the institutional nature of the art scene in New Zealand was one formative driving force for Cross. Niue's isolation concentrated his mind and allowed him to develop his work in an individualistic way.
In Mark Cross' works the linear (European) perspective of history has been replaced by a cyclical understanding of time. His works, with their signature minuteness of detail and yet often spartan spaces, are characterised by an almost other-worldly quality and have the quality of visionary parables. The paintings often warn of the dire ecological imperatives that face both a small island and a planet.
Although the work is very specific in its detail, reference is restricted to the use of local elements. These are used for the creation of a timeless, lateral world where his figures act out and question the foibles of humanity but never try to proffer answers.
Mark Cross has achieved through his work a uniqueness that avoids the trappings of regionalism, so often associated with realism, and replaces them with an acutely perceptive worldview.
During the nineties the artist ventured into other areas of art production with the establishment of a sculpture park in the rain forest in the east of Niue. A collaboration with his wife and several other artists, crafts people and musicians, saw the creation of the Shrine to Abundance, an installation inside a shipping container that toured Australia, New Zealand and Rarotonga.
Cross's paintings, however, are his main focus and are to be found in numerous private and corporate collections in Australasia, America and Europe.