'Metatopia', Nick Fox
Acrylic and ink on panel,
120 x 120 cm
Behind the reflective surfaces of my mirrored paintings hide a labyrinth of disparate and
sometimes conflicting meanings, a rubble of distinct and unrelated signifiers,
simultaneously clear and elusive. My paintings are camouflaged as decorative objects or
planes of uninflected colour. They draw upon Neoclassicism, Victorian visual culture and
sub-cultural symbology to reveal imagery from contemporary pornography that defies the
viewers initial expectation of an encounter with such seductive objects.
Metatopia is part of a series of works inspired by floriography, the Victorian cultural
phenomenon which used flowers as tokens of romantic longing, commitment or rejection to
communicate hidden or forbidden pleasures. I am drawn to the intensification of desire
that comes with secrecy and taboo, and playfully invert and personalise the artifice of this
fin de sicle language to create elusive narratives and unsustainable utopias.
The mirror-like polished panels are carefully built up over periods of up to 18 months,
through a lengthy process of layering of vaporous acrylic colour with erotic and floral
drawings. These idylls are often rendered in dark and muddy colours that, along with my
painting process, create a toxic fog, an Eden after the Fall, one where innocence has
(From 'Postmodernism or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism' by Frederic Jameson, 1991)
Born in South Africa in 1972, Nick Fox
attended Liverpool John Moores
University 1992-95 and the Royal
Academy Schools London 1998-2001.
He lectures at Newcastle University.
Exhibitions include 'Vanitas' (curator Max
Presneill) Raid Projects Los Angeles
2003, and in London 'This Longing' The
Drawing Gallery 2006, 'Jerwood
Contemporary Painters' Jerwood Space
2007, 'Salon 2007: New British Painting'
(curator Flora Fairbairn) 319 Portobello
Road. Solo projects include 'Unveiled'
(with Francis Picabia) MOCA London
2006, 'Phantasieblume' C4RD London
2009 and Vane Gallery Newcastle
2010. His 2009/10 residency at
Sunderlands National Glass Centre
developed 'The Longing Archive', exploring
longing, loss and unrequited desire.