John Moores Painting Prize winner Nick Fox’s paintings and objects are a combination of fine art and craft, romantic desire and explicit eroticism, decorative pattern and loaded symbolism. Nick Fox employs this exploration of the symbiotic relationship between these pairings in a reflection on both the historical contexts of the art object and other artefacts, as well as in the subtle unravelling of systems of pictorial and personal codes of concealment.
Artist Nick Fox blends an elaborate domesticity with the subtle articulation of romance, desire and fantasy. Fox’s surfaces are familiar and inviting, luring the viewer deeper to study the pictorial elements within. This delicateness veils the symbols and messages contained in the work. In addition to the evident borrowings from the Romantic and Vanitas painting traditions, Fox also draws on Florography – a complex system of codes employed by Victorian lovers to communicate messages of desire – in the process, circumnavigating what was deemed socially acceptable to be spoken.
Principally investigating compound values of desire, Nick Fox’s paintings imply a complex and personal set of figurative and decorative symbols, signs and codes of desire, articulated through explorations of content, material (paint) and context. Nick Fox is interested in establishing and articulating a language of desire through editing , reconfiguring and recontextualising; found erotic material, decorative Victorian wallpaper patterns, lost lace making crafts and the patina of old photographs, represented through the facade of a romantic painting tradition which attempts to analyse the objet petit a, the unattainable object of desire.
Nick Fox was born in Durban, South Africa and currently lives and works in London and Newcastle. He studied at John Moores University, Liverpool (1992 - 95) and the Royal Academy of Art, London (1998 - 2001). In 2010 Nick Fox won the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and in 2009 was given a research residency at National Glass Centre, Sunderland. Fox has appeared in many publications including The Guardian, a-n Magazine, The Journal newspaper and has exhibited widely in London, Los Angeles, New York and Norway.
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