Fill a space with colors and shapes. Have them dance and dangle. Make them whimsical, gentle and nostalgic, then supercharge them with pure, intense hues. Alter a room in a way that recalls meteor showers, fields of flowers, cell structures, neural synapses, microscopic crystalline forms and macroscopic universes. Imbue it with subtle references to time, memory and the mysteries of other life forms’ consciousness. Then you’ll have a sense of Carson Fox’s installations.
Fox is grounded in printmaking. The idea of creating multiples has always appealed to her. Lately she’s taken her ideas off the page and onto walls and floors and hanging from ceilings through multiples of multiples. Dozens, hundreds and sometimes thousands of individually made, richly toned, resin sculptures come together in dazzling arrays that refuse to be bound by the confines of a canvas. Their beauty spills across space.
“A main theme in my work is a kind of sense of spectacle and wonder that I’m trying to get across,” said the associate professor of art at Adelphi. “I’ll take natural forms like flowers, like the cross sections of trees, and create a sort of fantasy of it. I never work directly from nature; I work from an idea about nature…What I want to do is make something that’s really beautiful at a time when it’s not fashionable to make things that are beautiful.
“I think about beauty as being an entry point for people…thinking about rocks and the rings on a tree, I think about time and I think about these natural timekeepers we have in nature. Creating this kind of artificial version of that is a way of marking my own time on earth.”
Embedded within her configurations are concepts about ages, renewal and repetition. “This idea of time, constructing time. We have this sort of implanted idea about time, but the only time we really know exists is our own. There are always all of these voices that are left out of history. And history changes according to how we remember things and how other people remember things. That’s something I think about when I’m creating something.”
In her striking installations, many individually beautiful elements become one. Fox’s outlines alter slightly, colors shift gradually, forms are iterated and reiterated. It’s a language of subtlety and suggestion, told in resplendent tints and exuberant shapes that defy containment.
“Perfection is never really part of my situation. Blemishes, lumpy things, that’s not what I’m really concerned about. It’s about the exchange of color and form. One of the things I found when I was looking at minerals and crystals and rocks in natural history museums is that I just couldn’t believe how ridiculous some of the forms were. There was just nothing I could possibly dream up that would be more crazy than what nature is already doing. I look at that as my permission slip that I can do whatever I really want. I try to make my sculpture a little bit ridiculous and that’s fine. There’s an absurdity to it that I embrace.”