Peter Fox Releases Paint Into A Dizzying Array of Psychedelic Patterns

Peter Fox’s drip paintings are spirited explorations of the limits of space and illusion. Using an amalgam of acrylic and gel medium, Fox directs—but never too tightly controls—the way his material flows onto canvas. Borrowing visual cues from diverse practices like Abstract Expressionism, color field painting, Pop art, and Surrealism, his style is at once referential and original—a carefully synthesized combination of tradition and unique vision.

Telemetry,” the title of Fox’s current solo show of highly textured paintings at San Francisco’s Scott Richards Contemporary Art, is quite fitting considering the artist’s marked interest in visual data—in particular, the technique of measuring the distance between distinctive spatial entities. Using pipettes and plastic wrap, Fox combines paint colors in his hands before releasing them in a steady stream onto each canvas. He refers to this brush-free practice “as a distancing device—like a second language—to at once depersonalize, objectivize and consequently (perhaps paradoxically) locate a more immediate field of psychic and emotive contact.”

As abstract as his paintings may seem in form or concept, some works hint at specific, tangible realities. For instance, in Night Vision (2015), the clear compositional strategy and measured application of color denote a landscape. Distinct sections of blue and yellow paint droplets converge on what may be a horizon line; perhaps the painting is a field of corn cast golden under a deep blue sky. With Broken Branches (2014) Fox hints at landscape in the work’s title, while the actual content of the work veers more towards abstraction, but intriguing viewers to search its intricate surface. These works are excellent examples of Fox’s practice of layering real with surreal elements to create an organic, at times measured, visual field.

Fox’s works have been described as psychedelic, kinetic, and deeply dynamic. He manages to create surfaces that look like a warped television screen, melting wax, and an erupting volcano—all at once. Fox’s paintings delight the eye and command strength in their ability to leave a large amount of space for the viewer to interpret.

Anna Furman

Peter Fox Telemetry” is on view at Scott Richards Contemporary Art, San Francisco, Mar. 5–Mar. 28, 2015.

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