Fantastic Ms. Fox: Bristol painter Judy Nixon recently gave me a heads-up about the art show currently up in the Hall Gallery at LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta featuring the work of Durham artist Annette Fox.
“Her artwork is quite different,” Nixon said. “She carves into foamcore illustration board to create a bas-relief effect, then paints it with acrylic paint. The result is quite amazing.”
Fox’s work is indeed rather amazing. I have never seen anyone do what Fox does – namely, carve elaborate scenes into pieces of foamcore and then paint and frame them. The result of the combined technique of carving and painting is to create a profound sense of depth in each piece. Her piece titled “Moonlight over the Beach” is an especially nice product of her unique technique, with its painted wood-grain-like sky amplifying the effect of carving technique she uses.
Fox’s pieces often feature landscapes, dreamscapes, and animals.
“Happy Birthday” is a colorful, somewhat surrealistic piece picturing a cake with coiled candles and an oddly shaped utensil with a fork at one end and a spoon at the other. “Sweet Dream” is a large, dreamy piece featuring a number of land animals and sea life scattered throughout; the faceless person sitting cross-legged near the top of the piece while tending to a seal evokes calm. Similarly, “Tsunami 2004” is a large piece containing numerous colorful images, including tiny dancing and/or flying people, palm trees, and flowers. Fox makes the movement of the people thought-provokingly ambiguous, making one wonder if they are rejoicing or being swept away by the ocean.
Fox’s “Fish Tale” is a fantastic (and funny!) surreal piece featuring a fish-faced girl and boy on a sailboat in a roiling ocean.
Fox even includes a photograph of a spirit entity with her piece called “Visitation.” It adds a welcome amount of “punch” to her work; it is interesting to see what inspired her.
In a more realistic vein, “Kitten at Play” features a big-eyed kitten posing with its toys – a ball of yarn, a mouse with wheels, and a red-and-white-striped ball.
All of Fox’s work invites one to stand before it and become immersed in the world it presents, whether it is a fantasy scene or a joy-provoking image such as the kitten.
In her artist statement, Fox, whose son, physician Timothy Fox, heads up the emergency department at Miles, writes that “a close family illness in the early ’90s gave birth to inspirational ‘healing’ paintings. These paintings are meditational, spiritual, and cathartic for the viewer and the artist. The themes take the viewer to another plane incorporating nature and imagination to comfort with tranquility.”
Fox’s show closes Friday, June 15.
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