Danny Fox: As He Bowed His Head To Drink
Danny Fox's forthcoming exhibition in November at The Redfern Gallery will feature new work completed in St.Ives, LA and London. His painting has moved on, less calligraphic, more solid, physical and committed. The influence of the European Masters, Modern and Old is a given, they are as fresh to Danny as cowboys and indians are to young boys. Period does not outdate their ability to excite. Sometimes the lives led as wondrous as the images made. To paint as Van Gogh and live as Jesse James, that is the answer.
These new paintings began life via abstract misadventure contingent colour field canvases became palimpsests as experiments in rhythm proved not enough and subject overran abstract's nascent charms.
Danny's life is moving fast and there seems little room for intimacy. There is something of an apocryphal old testament about these paintings. An epiphany to create images and scale, like regimental flags going in to battle. Their subjects falling foul of false hopes in the vacuum of transition. The end is nigh, or at least a prophetic heeding that things are not going to remain as they were. This theme reflects a transition in Danny's outlook. These paintings are narrative observed, not a personal diary. He has moved away from insular allegories to observing life's capitulations on a much greater scale.
Employing strong almost familiar recurring motifs to arrest, these then give way to the implied narrative of each canvas. Danny paints as it comes. There are no preparatory studies, no exploratory mappings, no tentative forays, no big schemes, no tediously expounded and consciously informed developments.
The conscious influence of St. Ives, where Danny grew up, is outwardly and ostensibly negligible. However the geographical lineage of fantasized History painting via flat pictorial arrangement and perspective from Alfred Wallis is unequivocal, echoed later by others. The subtle theatricality of Stanhope Forbes and his themes of fraternity may also have made a connection along the way. The art of Cornwall may only have subconsciously informed Danny's art but his contact with contemporary American painters like Wes Lang, Henry Taylor, and Torey Thornton have matured his attitude and outlook as a painter.
This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue is an important moment for a young painter of profound talent and ability.