Alchemy Gallery Presents Exhibition by Simon Foxall
Alchemy Gallery is pleased to present the first U.S. exhibition of Italy-based artist Simon Foxall, opening on October 20th. Titled Self Portrait as a Thumb in a Storm, the show includes a collection of paintings by the UK-raised artist featuring a dynamic and compelling cast of characters.
Foxall’s work explores a unique dichotomy between old world art, and contemporary culture. Heavily influenced by the intricately elaborate imagery of medieval and gothic genres, Foxall seeks to create similar escapist portals with his small-scale paintings. Featuring contemporary iconography inspired by pop culture, the series of 15 works include everything from drag queens, fetish-wear, cowboys and Monty Python. Each piece is small and intimate in size (no larger than 45 x 55cm) which is in direct contrast to their expansive vision, compelling the viewer to be drawn in and participate in the experience of absorbing all that Foxall’s paintings hold.
Many of the paintings presented in Self Portrait as a Thumb in a Storm allow Foxall to work through a personal contemplation he focuses on with much of his work: queerness and cultural cliché. His pieces explore queer cultural reference points and recall conversations within popular mainstream culture. The characters he creates – in pose, expression and handling of their environments – are very much influenced by those reference points. Amoureuse, named after one of the Artist’s favorite Kiki Dee songs about the agony of first love, serves us a tickled pink blondie with sculpturally coiffed curls and a four o’clock shadow that darkens a chiseled jaw and dimpled chin; the drag version combination of Sandy & Danny from Grease. In Adam and Denise, a play on Adam and Eve, the religious allusion is made only to be fancifully perverted—fig leaves are replaced with shiny-green, strappy thongs and triangle bikini tops, trading modesty for unrepentant flamboyance.
With all of his paintings, Foxall has an innate ability to create in-depth scenes that are simultaneously serious and humorous. Amid flames and darkened clouds, Foxall’s figures dance with ecstatic jubilance or pose and play under the ghostly visitation of a long-deceased icon. Their manipulated, comically exaggerated bodies at once match their foreboding environments and simultaneously subvert any fear of threat through their cheerful disposition and incontestable charm. Foxall skillfully and with deep sensitivity traverses along the tension-wound high wire of our human condition, wrestling for meaning and joy in the face of impermanence and unyielding change.
Foxall’s Self Portrait as a Thumb in a Storm opens on Thursday, October 20th with a preview from 4-8 pm, and will be available for public viewing during Alchemy Gallery’s open hours: Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 6pm daily.