Danny Fox (b. 1986, St. Ives of Cornwall, England) blends domestic imagery with influences from his natural surroundings to create eerily striking articulations of the human psyche. Using photography as source material enables Fox to extract the lines, forms, and layers that comprise the simplest rendering of his subjects’ lives and spirits, and to synthesize them to their core essence.
Fox has exhibited internationally at Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, CA; Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA; The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, Luxembourg; and V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, among others. Fox lives and works in St. Ives of Cornwall, England.
Danny Fox in the studio, 2019.
Fox’s canvases use a vibrant array of colors that are tempered, or appear worn down, evoking the shadowy natures of their subjects. A skillful tightrope walker, Fox operates as both observer and participant: on a cellular level, the canvases convey that the artist is deeply intimate with the kind of life, always lived outside the ordinary, that he depicts. At same time, the structures of Fox’s compositions indicate an understanding of the painters and paintings that have come before him. The resulting work exudes a visceral synergy.
Fox’s show at Alexander Berggruen consists of paintings that echo those photos and drawings—an oozing array of opulent canvases organized around solo figures. Mostly female, the characters smoke, they straddle stuffed animals, they clasp their knees in seductive disdain, they eye us with casual contempt, they sprawl out across the floor or invite us to follow them deeper into the canyon.
Taking in the new body of work he’s amassed, I mention to Fox that it feels not unlike a great album, where the work conveys a single moment but also evokes an entire journey. “I always think of shows as albums,” says Fox. “I use that to help encapsulate certain moments and not worry if it’s off brand. I even sometimes think, Ah, shit, I’m making a bad album here. But I also like that feeling—like it’s going to be the ’80s Dylan album that you one day understand.”
We are pleased to share with you a new essay, “Danny Fox: Feedback Loop of Visual Reference,” written by Kirsten Cave. This essay explores Fox’s collaboration with photographer Kingsley Ifill, the basis for the paintings included in Danny Fox: The Sweet and Burning Hills (Alexander Berggruen, New York, January 12-February 26, 2021).
From the first group of related photographs and drawings in the 19th century to early pornographic postcards to contemporary pop culture, Fox’s new body of work exists in conversation with the rich history of photography’s influence on drawing and painting.