Working across painting, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, Belinda Fox is fast becoming an important figure in the field of contemporary Australian art, with works held in major public collections including the NGV, Melbourne, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane and Canberra’s NGA. Drawing from her virtuosic skills as a former Master Printer and informed by her extensive travels, the artist creates meticulously detailed works that launch multilayered explorations of the duality of human experience. Responding to the ever-present existence of conflict endemic to the human condition, Fox’s work offers the viewer a revelatory moment of meditation on the immeasurable beauty that surrounds us.
Featuring a new suite of paintings, sculptures, prints and ceramics created in various locations across Asia, ‘Balancing the World’ represents Fox’s material, cultural and conceptual dialogue with her broader surrounds. With prints produced in Thailand during an artist residency at C.A.P. Studios and ceramics created in Singapore from a collaborative project, the works extend Fox’s interrogation of the tenuous balancing act faced by a global society mounted on an insatiable thirst for ‘progress’. Responding to the vicissitudes of contemporary culture – fragmentation, digitisation, consumption and globalisation – the artist looks at what is being sacrificed in the stride of human advancement; namely the desiccation of tradition and depredation of the natural environment. With resonant Romantic sentiment, she reflects on how ‘the earth and the human soul are under great strain at present’, tacitly entreating us to recalibrate our collective conscience.
The works in the presentation picture a series of precarious forms – beautifully fragile balancing acts that are close to collapse yet cemented in a state of perfect acrobatics. In her paintings, prints and sculptures, Fox depicts extinct and endangered bird species to microcosmically frame the increasing deterioration that is occurring to our environment. She also employs the motif of the peony flower, a traditional Chinese symbol for prosperity and power, hinting at how these virtues can both build and destroy community. In her search for balance and harmony, the artist thus reveals the precarious line that divides creation and destruction, hope and despair, beauty and decay.
Following her successful collaboration with Australian ceramicist Neville French, Fox will present new ceramic works created in association with internationally-renowned Singaporean artist Jason Lim. Lim’s anthropomorphic ceramic sculptures linger on the line between creation and collapse, and Fox’s intricate carved drawings suffuse these precarious forms with an added air of fragility. Rooted in one of the most ancient and tactile artistic traditions in history, these ceramic works can be read as an emblematic reincarnation of tradition – symbolic foils for contemporary culture’s incessant preoccupation with the present and material remedies to our age of virtualisation.