The Montes Cross Monument at Oak Grove Cemetery
The Montes Marker is one of three large, free-standing cross monuments in Oak Grove Cemetery including Sturdevant (1953), and Hauser (1985). The aesthetic appeal of this monument originates from its shape and an iconography of contrasts and connections. The absence of an epitaph supports its visual impact by avoiding deflecting secondary symbolisms associated with verbal and written expression.
The shape of the marker follows the patterns of nature with unfinished rough sides and back, truncated arms, and curves that create an impression of something incomplete and in a process of development. These characteristics reflect the transformations of natural form and the symbolic import inherent in the monument itself.
As sculpture the monument is neither larger than life nor diminutive, therefore relational to the human form, and to some extent anthropomorphically shaped which we intuitively recognize. Its form states a condition of imperfection unlike the geometrically correct and perfectly stylized shapes seen in other cross monuments.
The mass of the monument with its roughened surfaces contrasts sharply with the delicate ascending botanical band of ivy leaves and flowers on its smooth-surfaced face. The band rises from the base to the central circle, creating a continuous rhythmic pattern constrained within stone-hard solidity. On a smaller scale the floral band repeats the shape of the monument and connects everything that is below the three roots, that is, the earth and the name of humanity within a specific name, to all that is above, or the three arms of the cross controlled by the authority of the divine face inside the circle.
The passive or silent virtue of humility as antecedent to an action of sacrifice exists as a metaphor through the name location at the base and in the expression on the face. Where no epitaph is given a word is yet seen to be spoken.
The circle of authority reconciles the opposing genders expressed as floral pattern and rough-hewn stone; as passive humility with active sacrifice and as infinite space and form with an ultimate controlling center.
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