16 January - 22 February, 2014
MFKPMQ featured a survey of works on paper, sculpture, and installation by Mark Fox. The artist’s methodical process, his penchant for iconography, and his visual wit united these varied works.
Mark Fox’s process revolves around the interplay between chance and intention. His two-dimensional drawings often begin with paper “drop cloths” upon which stains, spills, doodles and stray text fragments accumulate before he makes the first intentional mark. His “cut” drawings involve cutting and reassembling the original images into formal constructions, creating new meanings and associations from the juxtaposition of elements.
Fox often references text ranging from mythology to religious doctrine by painting the words in oil, ink and acrylic, then cutting them from their paper grounds and assembling amorphous, cloud-like masses that render the text difficult, if not impossible, to read. The resulting forms reflect the power and delicacy of the texts Fox has destroyed to create them. These works also allude to his fascination with narratives that often govern our actions, even though we may not fully understand them.
Given his interest in pushing the limits of paper, the artist turned to cardboard, making a handmade version of the ubiquitous commercial material. From these fluted paper elements he builds sculptures and painting surfaces. Using “private” drawings and “self-damaging” texts as source material, the cardboard, once cut, reveals fragmented “secrets” that are hidden in plain sight within the sculptures’ honeycomb construction. He puts the personal on display and yet renders it impossible to decipher. The rippled cardboard layers of these sculptures may appear transparent or opaque, depending on the viewer’s position. The process allows Fox to investigate his interest in works that shift as the viewer moves through space.
In recent years, Fox has incorporated the medium of polished cut stainless steel into his text-based works. Due to the balance of positive and negative space, these reflective sculptures offer endless visual play. Through openings in the steel, viewers see their surroundings as well as fragments of their own reflections. The eye unites the disparate sections, leaving the mind slightly confounded as to what lies before and what behind. As the space around viewers and the viewers themselves become conflated into a single plane, the steel sculptures almost disappear.