Sweetness and Light
Odd Balls, charcoal on paper
Although her still-life and floral works are hard-edged, it would be incorrect to characterize the style of watercolorist Barbara Fox by terms such as "naturalism" or "verisimilitude." Barbara's fruits suffer nary a blemish nor appear overly ripe. Her floral arrangements never sport a withered leaf or petal. They remain timeless and perfect. Clearly the artist's intent is not to represent a natural fact but to merely cultivate our associations while moving beyond these associations to a formal investigation of light, color, and pattern. As we study the objects depicted, they lose their identity as facts and become vehicles to create an aesthetic effect. They may, for example, transfer color from the foreground to the background of the composition: i.e. to establish color harmony. We see this most obviously in the glass or ceramic containers where, to represent the lights, shadows and reflections, Barbara has layered washes of related hues to create a rich texture of color which serves as a focus for the entire composition.
In similar fashion, the objects of Barbara's still-life compositions don't exist in "real" space and are not "modeled" in the usual sense of the term. Where their purpose is not merely to contain or transmit color and light, they usually support the artist's investigation of geometrical shapes or of flat and volumetric forms.
In Granny Smith #1, for example, the concave plate contrasts with the spherical volume of the apples, a contrast which the artist then belies by imparting a glass-like quality to the apples. Plate and apples are the same, yet different, a theme which is also explored in Flow Blue Chrysanthemum. In Barbara's intricate study Cruising on a Starry Night, the volume of the marbles contrasts to the flat, round swirls of paint upon which they sit. The light in the painting, however, serves a dual and contrasting purpose. By casting a shadow, it underlines the distinction between the two and three dimensional forms. Yet, by transmitting the color of the underlying painting, it serves to blend the two forms such that the mind clearly reads the image as a swirling solar system.
It is commonplace for contemporary artists to eschew any suggestion of decorative content in their art. Barbara Fox, on the other hand, would hardly deny the decorative content of her art. She embraces it and revels in it. Yet her work is also a subtle exploration of the nature of artifice itself, a fact to which she alludes by the frequent inclusion of paintings and objet d'art in the background of her work. The art of Barbara Fox is an art that continually examines itself.
Barbara Fox received her BFA in studio art from the University of California, Davis. She is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society and the International Guild of Realism. She has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, and her work is appears in a number of books and articles. Barbara currently resides in Little Valley, New York.
Confluence, oil on canvas
Ebb and Flow, water color on paper
Pegasus, charcoal on paper
Granny Smith #1
Flow Blue Chrysanthemum
Prices available on request