Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Labels for "Changeless Nature" and "Jazz Studies" Exhibitions

This blog is related to the work of the Spring 2010 Art Museum Theory and Methodology (SUNY-Oneonta) class. Posted here are exhibition labels researched and written by the students for the public art exhibitions at the Martin-Mullen and Project Space Gallerys (SUNY-Oneonta). On view currently are: "Changeless Nature: The Art of James Walton Fox and Valley Burke Fox" and "Jazz Studies: Photographs by Joanne Krivin". The exhibitions have been curated by Gallery Director, Timothy Sheesley.


Lake Kutra (Dhanakosha), Summer 2009
James Walton Fox
Oil on linen, triptych, 9 x 20 feet
(each panel is 108 x 80 inches)
The area of Dhanakosha (now Pakistan) on the banks of Lake Kutra is the birthplace of Garab Dorje, the first human Dzogchen master, and Vajrayana, or Tantric Buddhism. According to Tibetan Buddhism, Dzogchen is the highest and most definitive path to enlightenment. Vajrayana is a form of Buddhism that developed in India in the 5th century C.E. Lake Kutra, also known as Oddiyana, is considered a sacred place -- a green and fertile kingdom; a paradise on earth located in the Swat Valley.

As a member of the Vajrayana Foundation and Dzogchen Community, James Walton Fox was influenced by the poetics of Garab Dorje. He (literally and pictorially) creates his image around the Master’s text, “The nature of your mind is the primordial Buddha.” This passage is the key to Fox’s graphic dialogue and references the origin of Vajrayana and his personal journey. His canvas overflows with a spiritual purity of palette -- the rich colors and vibrant brushstrokes establish the environment inherent to his creative reality. The artist celebrates his inner awakening with seasonal tones and captures summer’s warmth and abundance in this idyllic landscape.
Fox states, “Painting is beyond time; beyond death. That is the landscape I am after.” His canvas reflects this Changing Nature.

By B.B.


Valley Fox, Rainbow Body, 2009. Oil paint on linen fabric, 60 by 40 inches.
Through her use of floral imagery Valley Fox illuminates the eternal essence of the soul which transcends the impermanent nature of life. In this work she draws upon the Buddhist concept of the “rainbow body” which refers to a transitional state in meditation where matter transforms into pure light energy. Within this pure-light state all possible manifestations of light and color dissolve into spectral white light as the inner self is awakened to the realization of the true nature of reality. Once the form of the rainbow body is achieved the soul can be freed from the endless cycle of death and rebirth called samsara, and complete spiritual enlightenment, or Nirvana, is obtained.
Purple, pink, and golden hues eloquently stream from the lower edges of the painting into the unfolding center of the white flora, representing the dissolution of the elements of the material self into the universal energy body. In this work the image of the flower is emphasized as being symbolic of the impermanence of beauty and nature. The image itself also contradictorily signifies the essence of eternity as the artist immortalizes the life of the flower by painting it on to the canvas, and thus also breaks its spirit free from the continual cycle of life and death. By meditating upon the brilliance of the movement and color in this painting one can equally be awakened to the truths of life and reality.
By N.G.


Valley Fox
Red Goddess, 2008
oil on linen
70 x 60

Valley Fox is a woman with a meaning. Her art transcends the art of eastern cultures, America and the provocative. Red Goddess is a painting on linen that brings thoughts of sensuality and organic elements together in one painting.

Red Goddess uses the colors of passion to exemplify the changeless elements of human sexuality and nature. Effectively titled, “Changeless Nature,” Red Goddess is a giant of color and of the erotic in this exhibit.

Educated with emphasis of the Orient, Valley makes her art with obvious influence of nature and of the east. This gigantic in size painting measures at 70 by 60 inches. Using vibrant bright and passionate colors she lures you into the painting, and makes a viewer imagine different images other than simply a flower.

The Red Goddess in Hindu, refers to a goddess of the Divine Woman, and Durga is the warrior aspect. The name “Durga” commonly translated as “a woman with creative force”, gives this painting a new meaning. Commonly pictured as a warrior woman with ten arms, and glowing red skin, Valley titled this very appropriately.

Born in Plantation Florida in 1975, Valley received her art education in Philadelphia and Toulouse, France. Exploring her love for eastern cultures, she also has a MA in Oriental medicine, and Nursing.

By A.A.


Sensual Play, oil on canvas, painted by Valley Fox.

Just by looking at this painting anyone can tell that it is a close up view of a flower, but this has more meaning than just being a flower. When you see a flower this means that it is the beginning of a new season, a new beginning. To see the true beauty of a flower is to see it when it first blooms and when you do take that moment you want to look at it as close as possible. Just like when you have the new relationship in the beginning it is new and you want to take a closer look. There is has another meaning behind it though and that is the passion a flower can hold. Either the colors or the shapes a flower makes can determine the mood a person feels. With this painting “Sensual Play” its like you can see the sexual motion of two people. It is like a dance, looking at the waves of movement inside the flower inner petals mingling with each other. The use of color also plays apart, which is tones of red. Red is the color for love and passion, which stimulates a person to have these feelings towards someone. This painting provokes a feeling in a person, which can tell them all of two things. First is the true beauty of a flower if you just take that moment to look, and second the emotion one can feel for another.

By J.H.


Valley Burke Fox’s “Red Goddess” was created in 2009. The painting is oil on Linen. The scale of the single panel painting is 76”x 66”. Valley Fox is represented by the Viviana Hansen Gallery in Franklin, New York and Woodward gallery, Manhattan. One of many botanical paintings, “Red Goddess” comes from the Changeless Nature Exhibition, which consists of both James Walton Fox and Valley Burke Fox most recent works. Valley Fox is a multifaceted woman with a knowledgeable background is studies in Oil painting, Oriental Medicine and Chinese language, and Science and Nursing. Her art is a syndication of her background.
“Red Goddess” embodies an inner, subjective expression of Fox’s response to nature historical importance. The painting is flooded with warm vibrant colors, and free flowing organic shapes. The red tonal value within the painting is an indication of its sexual representation. The composition of the painting seems like it mimics a flower submerged in water. The movement in the painting captures the flowers essence, the pedals cascade diagonally from corner to corner. The softness of the flower mirrors femininity a bold way. Fox’s delicate brush work reflects the elegance of nature’s beauty.

By C.R.

JAZZ Joe Williams

Jazz, which was born out of a counter culture reaction to the classist and racist classical music industry, took adversity with stride as it developed ingenious techniques of multiple improve melodies. It was not just music that was a rebellion, but also the Jazz culture that developed from intimate Jazz Clubs where cigarettes and alcohol came standard as a harmonious mix of smoke and music filled the night air. It was a safe space for all races and it was because of this that Jazz became a vocal and instrumental haven for those yearning for an escape from rigid racial and societal norms. Jazz’s style of unstructured melodies echoed the laidback mood of the audience and fueled the down-to-earth atmosphere that was so unique to Jazz culture at the time. Another distinctive element of this music style was the warm relationship that existed between the audience and the band that grew stronger with each song which shared raw emotions of human strife.
Joe Williams, born in a small farming town of Cordele, Georgia, had become one of the most famous Jazz musicians in history and during his career was nominated for 8 Grammy awards. Many of his songs conveyed some of the most intimate and vulnerable moments in life. This piece, “Joe William: 1995,” is a testament to the openness and tenderness that Jazz evokes from the musicians onto the audience as a dual gift of emotion and song.
By R.D.