Shop Talk in the Underground Gallery: Nathan Foxton

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The goal of my paintings is to transport the viewer into a passage between the external world and the internal world. This passage is defined by my color schema which develops through the energetic expanse of a grand narrative. While my work is figurative, the structure is found in both figurative and abstract painting. The subjects I am drawn to come from art history and the elements of today’s world that could change the way we see our narrative; I focus on the space where ideology and meaning get processed through us.

My content is composed of the layers that create a grand narrative; reverence, intimacy, and wonder are things I find myself meditating on in life. The Hunt is an important motif that I have a sense of reverence for in my practice for its historical depth at the very beginning of art history, to the technical mastery expressed in Rubens’s oeuvre, and the primal impulse still encoded in us. I love particular details about things and people. While I am not interested in the representation of realism, I find the stark and sometimes humorous observations in the work of Adolph Menzel compelling. A crooked nose, the shape of a lip, or the proportions a body all present particular characteristics in how we recognize and relate physically, that we find intimacy in. My sense of wonder is both macro, in the sense of heavenly bodies and the narratives humanity has come up with to explain the sky, to the micro peculiar objects imbued with power and mysticism. These facets of art history and humanity reflect an epicenter of my being where reverence, intimacy, and wonder touch.

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As a student and teacher of art history, I find myself researching primary source documents, or accounts of people that have been in buildings or been with art that I’ve only read about. I’ve recently reopened Witold Rybczynski’s The Perfect House, which explores the history, construction, and experience of Andrea Palladio’s (1508-1580) villas.

Shop Talk is a show to celebrate the newly renovated underground and the artists that are adjacent to it. While not exclusively a trait of the artists that share the underground, I feel that those of us who have our studios close to each other have informal, informative conversations.

I asked everyone to write a little about themselves, and to share a favorite interview, book, or podcast that they feel is useful while they work in the studio. While I think it is important for artists to get in the zone and to deeply engage in our work, I think it’s also important to identify the voices that give us some sense of our location in contemporary practice. I find myself looking for substantive conversations. I’m also amazed by how I try to get someone’s idea out of my head! Regardless, I’m grateful for the casual interactions I have with my neighbors, as it keeps me sharp and gives me a place to find my own voice.

-Nathan Foxton, Curator

This is the fifth in a series of seven.