January 12 – February 25, 2012
at Peter Blum Chelsea
Jason Fox, "Eating Symbols"
Time Out New York
Jason Fox's latest show is both a head trip and a heady time warp, featuring paintings and drawings that layer garishly colored portraits of iconic figures, drawn from the 47-year-old artist's memory with geometric motifs or outlines of angles and crosses. Maybe that sounds a bit too far-out, but Fox sidesteps gimmickry, for the most part, with sheer, unhinged skill.
For example, merging the images of Barack Obama and Bob Marley might seem like a bad idea, nut Fox convincingly does just that in a series of renderings (in jarring reds and furious oranges) of the musician blowing a spliff with an expressive frown. By adding Obama's closely cropped hairline just underneath Marley's wild mane, the artist melds one man into the next, dexterously creating a sense of history meshing and folding in on itself.
Fox uses a staining technique throughout that reinforces the transparency of his compositions resulting in an amalgam of things, people and periods. In St. George & the Dragon, the bearded, elongated face of ex-Beatle George Harrison - drawn in purple pencil on white canvas - is nearly subsumed by a tsunami of runny green, as if someone had poured ink all over him. Triangular shapes on either side of his head suggest wings or maybe horns, making Harrison into a fantastic combination of Jesus, angel and dragon. There are also purely abstract works - some ingeniously using thin strips of aluminum foil to demarcate forms - that fit into the overall art vibe of the show. Aside from a dumb sculpture of a wooden branch forming a peace sign, this ever-surprising and demonstrably talented artist avoids downers.
- Nana Asfour