One of two artists featured in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s 2015 Studio Watch series.
“It’s very difficult to become a master of a craft in this era,” said Marie V. Fox, one of two artists featured in the Beaverbrook Art Galley’s 2015 Studio Watch series. “If you compare today’s artists to say, a Renaissance painter, who would be trained from adolescence with one goal in mind. You would begin as a goldsmith and work your way up to a master painter. There would be a definite series of steps, and that simply doesn’t exist in this era.”
Fox, who studied fine art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, is known for her realist, dreamlike portraits, which draw heavily on the influence of First Nations spirituality and early European Renaissance painters. Her work often surrounds each model in a mythological environment that helps to reveal a greater sense of their own dentity while encouraging the viewer to look beyond the surface.
Like a great photograph, each of Fox’s portrait paintings present questions about our individual perceptions of identity and individuality, inviting the viewer to explore their own interpretations of what it means to be human.
“I work a lot from photos,” said Fox. “In this day and age I can’t expect a model to sit for eight hours. They’d be twitching a lot and checking their phones. I have to work with photographs but I don’t have to be trapped by photography either.”
Her work is anything but trapped, often highlighting her attention to detail and precision while leaving each piece wide open for greater exploration of thought and purpose.
While still considered an emerging artist among her many peers, Fox has become recognised regionally for her incredible body of work created in recent years, an accomplishment that brought her to the attention of Bernard Riordon, exhibit curator for the Studio Watch series.
“I had never applied to Studio Watch before,” said Fox. “People kept bringing it up but a little voice in my head kept telling me ‘I’m not a real artist’. It took me a while to realize that I’m definitely an artist. I put myself into this for the long haul.”
Now in its eleventh year, Studio Watch gives up-and-coming artists a major exhibit of their work in one of the region’s most prominent galleries.
“This year the series decided to select two painters, which is great,” said Fox. “Stephanie [Weirathmueller] and I both had no idea that we would be chosen for this year’s program, but knew we had both applied. We wished each other good luck.”
The opportunity for such an exhibit can prove invaluable to any artist, especially a young painter working to gain recognition for their work. One of the biggest challenges to any dedicated artist is simply finding avenues to get their work before the eyes of the public.
“Speaking for myself, I just want to create the work,” said Fox. “It’s difficult to balance creation and promotion. Not everyone is born a marketer. I definitely see this as an opportunity to meet a broader audience. I think our work will meet more people throughout the summer as people visit the gallery. That’s pretty exciting.”
Marie V. Fox | Facebook
The Studio Watch: Emerging Artist Series — Painting 2015 exhibition is curated by Bernard Riordon, Director Emeritus of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and made possible through the generous contribution of Earl and Sandy Brewer. Studio Watch runs until Sunday, August 30th, 2015.