‘The Writing on the Wall: a Homage to Hemingway’ by George Fox
February 25th to March 28th. Open daily 10am-5pm.
The Sewell Centre Gallery’s forthcoming exhibition ‘The Writing on the Wall: a Homage to Hemingway’ is inspired by Oxfordshire artist George Fox’s travels through the cultural centres of Europe. And although he looks back to Europe in the early twentieth century, this thought provoking body of work reverberates with the two current topics of global interest: the future of Europe and worldwide political, economic and social turmoil.
Fox, who has had an active career in art education and as an artist, is staging an exhibition of paintings and mixed media work informed by a lifelong love of the novels of Ernest Hemingway. Starting in the bars and cafes of London, his artistic journey travels through the Parisian cabaret scene to Southern France and then on to Northern Spain and the world of bull fighting and modernist Barcelona. Keenly avoiding the well beaten tourist route, the artist has sought out the Europe of Hemingway as he experienced it in the aftermath of the Great War as it moved into a climate of radical extremes and change. This famous early twentieth century American writer chose to leave behind the values of his own homeland to immerse himself in the liberal atmosphere of Europe, which he also fought to preserve from the forces of emerging fascism. This choice strikes a chord in today’s post-Brexit and globally post-truth climate and ensures that George fox’s artistic quest is keenly relevant and current.
Like Hemingway, Fox is fascinated by ‘poignant observations of people, places and objects’: he works to ‘record the world around (him) with its frailties and strengths’. He says that ‘the human condition and its consequences are ever present in (his) work’.
Inspired by the Cubist movement of the 1920s and 1930s, Fox paints in oils on canvas and board. The mixed media pieces are composed from found objects, sometimes specifically sourced materials and collage such as newspaper cuttings which provide a source of printed typeface. Fox says that ‘much of the collage material has been acquired on location whilst travelling in Europe and therefore includes tickets, labels, receipts, and posters etc. all of which become part of a layered history to the work.’
Fox is fascinated by symbolism which can be seen in the form of eggs, birds, moon, flowers. He explains ‘underlying my work is the need to produce images that ask questions, sometimes answer them but more importantly engage others in thinking about the world in which they live. My hope is that the work should be inspiring, engaging, thought provoking and ultimately enjoyable.’