British Artist Danny Fox And His Wild-West Paintings

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From left to right: As He Bowed His Head to Drink, Return from Exile, Jumbo’s Clown Room, I Should Have Killed You When I Had the Chance, Fatal Decision, all Danny Fox, 2015.

Experiencing self taught, British artist Danny Fox’s paintings has been described ‘like waking up in a world written by Charles Bukowski on a particularly heavy bender.’

Whilst this sounds dark and inaccessible, Foxes paintings, with their painterly surfaces and colourful scenes of imaginary narratives, allude to the kinds of stories that might be overheard in local pubs, those that speak to all of us. His work conjures a seductive mixture of high and low culture, simultaneously evoking wild-west films combined with the more traditional modernist tropes of Picasso and Gauguin. The result; unusual perspectives with bold colours. His work is reminiscent of Gauguin’s ‘Vision After the Sermon’, in which a group of women pray beneath two Angels wrestling, inspired by Japanese prints Gauguin had seen. Fox similarly uses a graphic style and parodies a biblical rhetoric. In his painting ‘As He Bowed His Head to Drink’ (2015), a dark skinned soldier sits on a horse, taking it by the reigns. In all his pomp, with his red military jacket, boots, white hat and gloves, his face belies a smile that makes him look both innocent and ridiculous. The title in turn was used for his most recent solo show at the Redfern Gallery on Cork Street, a historic London gallery, established in 1923.

The vision after the sermon, 1888.

Paul Gauguin.

As He Bowed His Head to Drink, 2015.

Danny Fox.

Met with critical acclaim, Fox suggests this image of the man on the horse is representative of change. Having started his journey in St. Ives and since lived in both LA with the Sang Bleu collective and London, Fox’s identity is evident in his work and he seems to revel in the now foreign concept of being ‘native.’ In an increasingly globalized cultural economy, it is a pleasure to look at work that celebrates the feeling of being a local. His first show was inspired by the White Horse, a local Eastend pub and displayed in the Cock n Bull Gallery close by. His style is like handwriting, instantly recognizable and characterful. Having taken off to America once again and now looking at patterns, I imagine his work will only grow stronger and more memorable. If you didn’t know him already, he’s one to watch.

Jessica Draper

Jessica Draper is a London based curator, with an MA from the Courtauld in Documenting Fashion and Film. She currently specialises in contemporary British art.