Sotheby’s S|2 is pleased to present Onions Under Water, British painter Danny Fox’s first solo exhibition in New York. Featuring a selection of new paintings, this exhibition demonstrates the artist’s commitment to exploring the depths of figuration through a rigorous painting process. Depicting a menagerie of decorated characters, Fox's paintings of horsemen and boxers serve as guideposts to this exhibition and the artist’s index of signs and symbols. The 12 paintings in this show were created this year during Fox’s time in Los Angeles and are inspired in part by his observations of Skid Row, the 54 block area in downtown Los Angeles. Through the artist’s characters, he constructs a painterly dialogue of semiotics. The result is a natural language: the artist’s own synthesis of forms and figures influenced by a history of painting, anecdotes and experiences.
Fox’s characters are often directly influenced by the homeless community of Skid Row. Despite all odds, these characters radiate a sense of unquantifiable style and swagger that Fox’s aims to highlight in his paintings. Throughout many of his narratives, the artist invents a reoccurring actor, JR the Player, a commanding model who engages with Fox’s various settings. JR the Player is an amalgamation of several different individuals Fox has encountered during his time in Los Angeles. Often pictured on horseback, there is a sense of triumph in Fox’s renderings of each character. The horse is a charged image infused with potential. Throughout the rise of modern civilization, the horse has a played a vital role in determining the fate of empires, serving as an advantage in warfare and transportation. The success of the great Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan is often attributed to his army’s use of horses, without which it is understood that he and his descendants would have never been able to conquer the largest empire in world history. Fox calls to mind this legacy, bridling in these paintings the progressive power associated with the horse. Fox’s boxers also emanate a feeling of historical action. Like the inhabitants of Skid Row, they too continue to push forward, battling the odds fight by fight. Poised and ready, similar to his horsemen, the boxers stand against monochromatic backgrounds orbited by a painterly cosmos.
In this exhibition, Fox’s paintings take on the form of pictographs, coming to life through a didactic composite of symbols and characters, both on horseback and gloved. Similar to the histories of his characters and the genesis of their influences, Fox’s physical canvases are very much allegories in themselves. Fox builds up his canvases and their stories through a meticulous system of editing and erasure. Through the multiple layers of paint, elements from early stages of the paintings are isolated and preserved as the composition progresses. Eyes and extensions of earlier figures that have since been painted over appear through the background alongside the more recent phases, developing an uncertain, yet aware chronology of events that puts past and present on the same plane.
Danny Fox was born in 1986 in St Ives, Cornwall, and currently lives and works between Los Angeles and London. His artwork has been featured in exhibitions at such galleries as CNB Gallery, London; Faux Pas Gallery, Moscow and Paul Loya Gallery, Los Angeles. Last year, Fox was the youngest artist to have a solo exhibition at the historic The Redfern Gallery, London. Fox’s work has been reviewed by such periodicals as Modern Painters, TATE Magazine, The Saatchi Gallery Magazine, Wall Street International and Purple Magazine and written about by artists and critics including Wes Lang, Sue Webster, Arty Nelson and Edward Lucie-Smith.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Monday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Closed Sunday 15 May
S|2 is Sotheby’s Contemporary art gallery, offering year-round exhibition programming and bespoke private sales.
With dedicated gallery space in New York, London and Hong Kong, S|2 presents selling exhibitions exploring the work of celebrated artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, and Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, as well as shows curated by influential art world figures like Vito Schnabel.
In addition to gallery programming, the S|2 team facilitates private acquisitions and sales around the world. Learn more at WWW.SOTHEBYS.COM/S2.