Two solo exhibitions this summer, 2016.
Something In The Air Galerie Wetterney, Berlin, Germany April 23- June 9
Paintings and Pastels Galerie Korinth, Odense, Denmark July 13- August 3
Something in the Air
David Fox was born in London in 1957. There he studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and at St. Martin’s School of Art. In the 1980s, he moved to New York and has lived and worked there ever since. David Fox is a visual artist of the postmodern kind. His work is interdisciplinary. His media are painting, drawing, graphic arts, sculpture, and photography. He also writes theater plays, two of which have been performed on New York stages.
The spectrum of his themes and styles is very broad. But at the center of his artistic activity, he places the human figure, always with a figurative orientation. Many of his works are based in a clear will to narrate. David developed his narrative position at a time when the statements of the members of the so-called School of London – Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, and others – followed by reflex a Modernist verdict that strictly denied and rejected narration. The theatrical aspect in the presentation of these narrations and the various motifs is very pronounced. In form and content, he shows a tendency to monumentalization. The gestures and facial expressions of the depicted figurations are clear. Sometimes the expressions are pushed to the boundary of making faces or even of demonic grimaces, so that the realistic stance borders on surrealism and phantasms. States of physiognomy – the face as a clear reflection of a psychological state, to plumb and express the truth of the person.
David Fox works incessantly and intensively. He is at home in diverse media, methods, and artistic strategies, and he has many techniques and crafts at his disposal. He is their confident master and employs them in accordance with his respective artistic aim. He is motivated, and perhaps driven, by his desire to express. He wants to say something, and he has something to say.
David places himself and his likeness at the center of his oeuvre. Strategically, he moves among the search for himself, self-reflection, and self-display… and from there to self-assertion or to the assertion of a self, in any case to a powerful positioning in art and in the world. Taking over the world and defending himself against the world are presented here in one. The examination, the exploration of the constitution and state of an individual, of the “self”, provides information on the constitution and state of the world.
On the works:
David is a painter, draftsman, and graphic artist with ardor. He mixes the media. As a painter, he draws; and as a draftsman, he paints. He enhances graphic art by painting or overpainting it, for example in these monotypes. Monotypes are a kind of glass print. Instead of on paper or canvas, the artist paints or draws on glass or a similar surface and, while the paint is still wet, uses a press or his hand to imprint the image on paper. This process is fascinating for an artist, because it offers plenty of scope for chance. It makes offers to the imagination.
The coloration of the pictures correlates with the respective figurative likeness and obeys a strategy that aims at maximum expression.
The application of paint is usually left visible. The paint as material, the traces of brushes and gestures are exposed comprehensibly. This painting is intense, almost nervous. It pushes forward, and yet subordinates itself to an overall will to content.
In the adjoining room, we find, among other things, the series “anywhere, everywhere, nowhere”. Here are architecture describing or intimating, linear constructions placed in open, atmospheric painting reminiscent of landscapes. In terms of form, but also content, these works are broad in scope. The viewer’s association with the subject can be cathedrals, but also camps.
Akin to these works, but moving in a more painterly direction, are the studio scenes, also in the adjoining room. These are depictions of the artist (as such) in his workplace, the production site of art, romantic site of yearning, but also banal workshop. David presents these depictions with a form of painting that glories in visuality.
For David Fox, art is implicitly political. He makes no clearly defined or poster-like statements, accusations, or invocations. But protest and appeals are intense, under the surface, though never in the sphere of functionality.
A central characteristic of art is its lack of function. Here and there, it can be employed to decorative purposes of one or the other kind, for example aesthetically or mentally, pedagogically or propagandistically, but these are misunderstandings. The more function is loaded onto art, the more its artistic aspect is extinguished. Art serves nothing and no one. In times ruled by the religion of functionality, or by other religions, it is a place of sanctuary and refuge, a force field of another kind.
Art is important – and with it, so are its apologists, the artists. The figure of the artist is the representative of a radical concept of individual freedom. The human desire for independence and its necessity culminate and are made visible in the artist.
When David Fox places himself as exemplar artist figure on the stage of his respective media and lets us be present when he sheds his skin and grows it anew, he moves into this mental space.
We are encouraged to follow him on his excursions, to take up his offers, and to enjoy his intensity, his strength, and the beauty of his works!
Translated from German by Mitch Cohen.