Honing my Craft and Intent:
Recently I read two incredible books that pertain to being an artist in our contemporary world. The first was Seven Days in the Art World and the second one was The War of Art. Both were eye opening for various reasons. The first opened up the business of the art world in new way. I have stumbled around for years trying to figure out exactly how this world operates and which door is "my" door as it pertains to "my" art. This book gave me an inside perspective that I had not heard of before. The War of Art is a motivational book that speaks directly to the creative person and makes no bones about telling you exactly what you need to do (both physically and psychologically) to succeed at your craft.
From them, I redeveloped my artist statement honing it until it aptly described why I am here, why I make art, and what is important about my work.
Artist Statement of Bernadine Fox
Seasoned with a well-lived life, my abnormal childhood, unusual background, and a willingness to examine tough (often taboo) issues, I offer a fresh socio-political portrayal of our culture and an intimate entry point into the human psyche. Since I was a small child sitting at my family’s dinner table, I have been acutely aware of the dynamics at play in our interpersonal relationships. In fact, I have always been fascinated by the human condition. Ethnographic-based, my work broadens the intimate experience of home and family to the larger community. By weaving colours, objects, and words, I construct narratives within my art, examining the cultural issues faced by contemporary society.
I am not young and, accordingly, my work is aptly aged with decades of unique experiences born out of a willingness to push the boundaries and choose beyond the norms of convention. Art is my life’s work and fundamental to how I communicate with my world. Everything (whether it was my film work, that with survivors of childhood trauma, or my writing) has delivered me to this place where art is my focus. I know that it, as a vehicle for social change, has a responsibility to embrace the power it wields and deliver its message honourably and authentically. Consequently, my art is an unflinching investigation into the human condition: good or bad; beautiful or ugly. The work created out of this research engages the viewer in critical discourses (sometimes private: sometimes public) on topics such as children of drug addicts, dissociative identities, and what signifies “home" while refusing to exploit all-too-easy forms of sensationalism. Like me, my patrons are also, most often, individuals who work for and support social change.
I work primarily in two mediums: oil on canvas and mixed media assemblage. At first glance, one might construe my range of mediums as an inconsistency until you become familiar with my subject matter. For me, the message conveyed is always more important than the medium employed. I have also worked in sculpture, collage (digital and manual), and mixed media. My drawings are usually rendered realistically although I love the immediacy and line only afforded with contour. In painting, visually I am also interested in the use colour and several years back abandoned the white canvas for black. Not only does this enhance colour, but I am able to mirror in paint how our eyes and brains see, interpret, and recognize objects. How light reflects off objects indicates whether or it has a polished or rough surface. How light hugs the side of objects reveals its shape. And, light lets us know how close or far an object is depending on the degree of contrast between light and dark. In my work, it is this painting of light that brings an object to life.
The three Pear Paintings above will be exhibited at The Cultch along with other paintings from my Pear and Home series'. Opens Oct 3rd @ 1895 Venables St in Vancouver, BC. Exhibition runs from Oct 2nd to 21st, 2012.
One might assume that a bunch of pears are a simple still-life and have nothing to do with ethnography or cultural/social issues. However, the entire Pear Series is a visual exploration into how we communicate nonverbally using our physcial bodies. How do we face each other? How do we posture? How do we let someone know we care? I work with nonverbal language. Although it may seem odd to use a piece of fruit to symbolize human beings, the intimate nature of the subject matter allows the viewer to relate more easily than if I had used the posturing of people.
Here are my two most recent paintings, that I have just begun. I will post them again when they are finished. You will notice that they have yet to be named. For me, the names of my pieces come while I am painting them. These have yet to find theirs.
What do you get if you cross a painter with a boxer?- Mohammed Dali
Artist Joke of the Month
Why was the art dealer in debt?- He didn't have any Monet
What did the artist say to the dentist?- Matisse hurt
Vincent van Gough walks into a bar, and the bartender offers him a drink...No thank -you, said Vincent, I've got one 'ere.
What do you call an American drawing?-A Yankee Doodle.