John Fox, ‘Untitled 8102’, 1981, Oeno Gallery
John Fox, ‘Untitled 8102’, 1981, Oeno Gallery
John Fox, ‘Untitled 8102’, 1981, Oeno Gallery
John Fox, ‘Untitled 8102’, 1981, Oeno Gallery

John Fox was a master of Canadian abstraction. By 1980 Fox had been teaching at Concordia University for ten years and served as his department’s chair. He also continued to show in both Montreal and Toronto but his life in the studio remained his primary obsession. Fox has said: "I am a painter, that's all I've done for thirty years. I've never believed in talent, only in interest, and in work. Art is a terrifically long-term thing. You find out about yourself first. The rest comes later, sometimes much later."

In the work of the 1980s, drawing and painting continue to be interdependent, but now the images incorporated large irregular shapes of more pitched, solid colour.

At this point, Fox began to incorporate collage elements in these imposing opaque paintings. The colour that he positions against each other should not work, but he makes them work through the constant layering of paint, sprayed, brushed and flicked over the canvas from different directions. Shapes that could be interpreted as references to nature or the body are denied any such reading because of their imaginative colour and the contrast of light and dark, small and large, over and under.