Artist Profile - - CONTENTS - by Lucy Stranger

Belinda Fox’s art is ar­rest­ing in its in­tri­cate lay­er­ing of de­tail and colour. Her in­trigu­ing hy­brid prac­tice is en­tirely unique, in­cor­po­rat­ing an ar­ray of art styles from print­mak­ing to wa­ter­colour, and re­cently ex­per­i­ment­ing with the three di­men­sional as­pect of sculp­ture. In­ter­con­nect­ing these dif­fer­ent art forms in a col­lec­tive di­a­logue evokes an ex­hi­bi­tion that is laden with con­cep­tual im­pact. As a re­sult her com­po­si­tions - del­i­cate bal­ances of lace-like pat­terns and earthy tonal washes, trans­port the viewer into med­i­ta­tions on moments of tran­si­tion and trans­for­ma­tion.

Since her move to Sin­ga­pore, and re­cent suc­cess of a sell out show last year at Chan Hampe Galleries in Sin­ga­pore, Belinda Fox spoke with Artist Pro­file about the new ex­pe­ri­ences and peo­ple that shape her work.

Tell me about your re­cent move to Sin­ga­pore and its in­flu­ence on your work.

We moved to Sin­ga­pore when my hus­band was of­fered a job there, but it has proven to be a hugely ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for me too. It has al­lowed me to con­tinue to visit in­ter­est­ing places in the re­gion, and en­ter­tain the idea of do­ing projects in Asia too. Ex­hibit­ing in Hong Kong and Sin­ga­pore has def­i­nitely opened up a whole new in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence for me.

How did you re­spond to the spa­tial tran­si­tion – from work­ing in Aus­tralia with its large, open land­scape to Sin­ga­pore’s con­crete and pop­u­lous city spa­ces?

It was quite an ad­just­ment go­ing from a house in the bushy sub­urb of Eltham Vic­to­ria to a small high-rise apart­ment! I tend to think a lot about empty red dusty vistas from my child­hood coun­try town in Mildura. On this small in­tense is­land ev­ery square mil­lime­tre is ac­counted for.

It is very in­ter­est­ing how im­por­tant green belt parks are for the hu­man spirit. These pre­cious na­ture re­serves, the en­dan­gered or re­silient bird life, the tiny moments of space you try to hold on to be­fore another sky­scraper blocks your vi­sion. It has in­spired not only paint­ings but also a new se­ries of sculp­tures too.

Trans­for­ma­tion is a re­cur­rent theme in your works – im­ages of a bud­ding lo­tus, a flow­er­ing branch or birds in flight. What is its sig­nif­i­cance for you?

A lot of my work is about po­ten­tial and tran­si­tion. Whether some­thing is open­ing up or dy­ing, or leav­ing or ar­riv­ing, it’s all con­nected to this bal­anc­ing act of life. I also get great in­spi­ra­tion from the broader hu­man frail­ties. Trans­for­ma­tion is con­stantly a part of my ev­ery­day life, but also my jour­ney de­vel­op­ing as an artist. My work ex­presses this con­stant flux and de­sire for move­ment, im­prove­ment and change.

You ini­tially trained in print­mak­ing but your prac­tice has ex­panded to in­cor­po­rate wa­ter­colour and ce­ram­ics. How has your prac­tice evolved and what in­flu­ence has it had on this evo­lu­tion?

For me mak­ing is mean­ing. Ideas are formed through the hand. I am learn­ing to value that in­tu­ition.

I al­ways think I paint like a print­maker! I love mak­ing things, I love ma­te­ri­als, and how ma­te­ri­als have in­trin­sic qual­i­ties that can be ma­nip­u­lated to cre­ate un­ex­pected re­sults. For me mak­ing is mean­ing. Ideas are formed through the hand. I am learn­ing to value that in­tu­ition. I fol­low a hunch; I love to try some­thing new. I stud­ied print­mak­ing at VCA and later worked as a stu­dio mas­ter prin­ter at Port Jackson Press Aus­tralia. I think print­mak­ing has made me value a craft and to be dis­ci­plined. Print­mak­ing is a slow and of­ten te­dious jour­ney. You must fol­low the steps to get the best re­sult. Whether I am work­ing on a ce­ramic form, a draw­ing, print, a paint­ing or a sculp­ture it is of­ten ac­tu­ally about line, form and in­tent.

What chal­lenges did the ex­ten­sion of your prac­tice present? How did you re­solve these chal­lenges – ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion?

I started paint­ing for the prac­ti­cal rea­son I was preg­nant and wor­ried about the chem­i­cals, the labour in­ten­sive act of large-scale print­mak­ing and ac­cess to stu­dio re­sources. Once Bil­lie was born I had to find a new way to work. It was not easy un­til a friend put me onto clay boards. This sur­face worked with my style. It has a sim­i­lar qual­ity to pa­per so I had found fa­mil­iar ground. As for col­lab­o­ra­tion I have al­ways loved work­ing with peo­ple. It is re­fresh­ing to have other ideas, opin­ions, and aes­thet­ics to bounce off. You can learn so much from work­ing with another artist.

More prac­ti­cally, can you tell me about your prac­tice, what it in­volves from con­cep­tion to re­al­ity?

Of­ten past work will start me off for a new se­ries, so some­thing I liked from my past show will be the start­ing point for a new body of work. Through my ex­per­i­ment­ing, and once I have a ti­tle, a story starts to de­velop in my head about what I want to say. I of­ten make mod­els of the gallery spa­ces to get a feel of how a story might un­fold as you walk around the space. This is im­por­tant – how the work con­nects and feeds off each other. My ideas are never cap­tured in one image – it’s the col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence that gives you a true sense of the idea.

What ini­ti­ated your devel­op­ment of sculp­ture into your prac­tice?

I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in 3D work. In 2010 I did a res­i­dency in Greece and was able to do a small ce­ramic pot with a lo­cal pot­ter. It was so en­joy­able that I looked to work in ce­ram­ics when I re­turned home, and have col­lab­o­rated with Neville French for 3 years on ce­ramic forms. Mak­ing sculp­tures started out as prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion but has been re­ally in­ter­est­ing and ex­cit­ing.

What’s feed­ing your cur­rent work? Are you look­ing at any par­tic­u­lar artists or pe­ri­ods to in­form your cur­rent prac­tice?

This year’s ex­hi­bi­tions are ti­tled ‘Ex­ca­vate’. Ex­ca­vate re­lates so heav­ily to ‘work’ – dig­ging, un­earthing and find­ing new things from old relics. This is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant as the works are us­ing col­lage on pa­per and past prints made into pa­per mod­els, then cast into bronze sculp­tures. Both the works on pa­per and sculp­tures are of­ten re­con­struc­tions of en­dan­gered birds from Sin­ga­pore. By re-cre­at­ing them from my own past art­works I feel like I am will­ing them back into be­ing. Although the paint­ings do not in­clude past prints they do rein­vent a very old mo­tif of mine – the web. It now rep­re­sents my past, present and fu­ture. I have been read­ing a great book on Bran­cusi and Serra that is most help­ful for my sculp­ture works. Also in Hong Kong Basel last year I saw the works of print­mak­ers Uwe and Gert Tobias, I love how they con­struct their ex­hi­bi­tion spa­ces. Belinda Fox is rep­re­sented by Art­house Gallery, Sydney, Scott Livesey Galleries Mel­bourne, and Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong.

EX­HI­BI­TION Ex­ca­vate 15th Oc­to­ber - 1st Novem­ber 2014 Art­house Gallery






01 Tum­bler I, 2014, wa­ter­colour, ink, pen on pa­per, 140 x 123.5cm 02 Belinda Fox in her stu­dio in Sin­ga­pore. Pho­tog­ra­phy Fa­reez Ah­mad 03 Stu­dio shot. Pho­tog­ra­phy Belinda Fox 04 Stu­dio shot. Pho­tog­ra­phy Melinda Schawel 05 Belinda Fox in the stu­dio. Pho­tog­ra­phy lilred­dot­ 06 Stu­dio shot. Pho­tog­ra­phy Fa­reez Ah­mad 07 A walk in the park v, 2013, wa­ter­colour, draw­ing on board, 92 x 62cm 08 Ex­ca­vate, 2014, wa­ter­colour, draw­ing, en­caus­tic wax on board, 140 x 120 cm 09 Belinda Fox in her stu­dio. Pho­tog­ra­phy lilred­dot­ Courtesy the artist, Art­house Gallery, Sydney and Scott Livesey Galleries Mel­bourne.




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