Adrian Cox - "Big Thinker with Reflections on Natural Phenomena" - oil on canvas - 50.8 x 66cm (20"x26”)
50.8 x 66 cm (20" x 26”)
Adrian Cox (Missouri, USA) received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and his master of fine arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where he currently teaches. Cox has exhibited his work widely, recently including Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles and beinArt Gallery in Australia. In addition to numerous online reviews and articles, his paintings have been featured in print in Anatomy Rocks: Flesh and Bones in Contemporary Art as well as Hey! art magazine.
Adrian Cox’s “Sensory Garden” presents a glimpse into the lives of the Border Creatures, a race of hybrid beings that inhabit the lush wilderness of the Borderlands. In this exhibition, Cox explores the deep symbiotic relationship that the Border Creatures share with the Borderlands. The characters in these paintings tend to the animals and plants around them and serve as gardeners for their wilderness home. Likewise, the flora, fauna, and crystallized mineral deposits that bulge from these figures’ bodies suggest a kind of unity with their environment; the figures in these paintings are inseparable from the natural world. Consequently, the language of difference, the language by which these characters might be labeled as “unnatural,” begins to break down. In “Sensory Garden,” the Borderlands serve as an Arcadia for the other, a paradise in which monstrosity is transformed into beauty.
Cox uses the mythology of the Border Creatures to raise questions about how we understand human identity and otherness. Despite the grotesque anatomy of these figures, they are presented as empathetic, and shown to engage in profoundly human pursuits. The Border Creatures are lovers, artists, poets, philosophers, musicians, and scientists. From the amorous relationship between Painter and Snake Gardener to the bond of scholarship between Big Dreamer and Big Thinker, this grotesque race of beings is shown to be fundamentally compassionate and earnest. Throughout these paintings, the Border Creatures overcome their seemingly monstrous forms and connect with each other and their environment through a state of perpetual wonder.