Rick Fox: In the Thick
Jaclyn Kain: A Silent Rebellion
January 9 – 31 at Gallery NAGA
In January, Gallery NAGA presents two young artists, both of whom use surprising photographic and painting methods to explore identity and their relationships to the world around them.
Rick Fox: In the Thick and Jaclyn Kain: A Silent Rebellion are both on exhibition from January 9 through 31. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, January 9 from 6 to 8 pm.
Rick Fox is a painter whose work, though small in scale, plays big. Fox uses a palette knife for a thick, confident application of paint. These emotionally driven paintings are moody and filled with opaque, saturated colors and light. Fox, a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art (MFA) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (BFA), studied with George Nick, a longtime realist painter and mentor to many painters in New England. Fox’s work began as a response to his environment by portraying his surroundings with honest detail.
In the past year, Fox’s work has deviated from the direct observation he had practiced for years. His shapes have flattened while still relaying volume and space. Fox likes Cezanne’s approach, remarking, “In order to create honesty you need to embrace the flatness of the surface. I’m experimenting with how much I can simplify the shapes but with the goal of trying to use flatness to get more volume and illusion.” In that simplification, suddenly new opportunities arise to organize and push color.
Fox is not reproducing what he’s seeing, but recreating it. He describes his process as an “ . . . evolving struggle of responding to the work and how much to impose my ego on the world and what I see. I’m ok with the imposition of my own decisions. It still feels like a collaboration and I’m responding emotionally to what I’m seeing.”
Fox’s work is currently included in a group show at Kingston Gallery curated by Mary Harding titled A Department of Makers: University of New Hampshire Studio Faculty.
Jaclyn Kain’s meticulous photographic process lends itself well to her elusive subject matter. Her technique, one that she’s recently developed, starts with liquid emulsion being applied to a glass or vintage mirror. This prepared surface is then exposed under an enlarger to her negative, while simultaneously being developed, resulting in the finished object. A test print, commonly used among photographers, isn’t possible with this technique. What results from this process is often uncontrollable and immediate, characteristics that Kain both likes and nudges.
The work and all its mystery is enhanced by Kain’s process. The surfaces resemble skin; they are uneven, cloudy in some places and transparent in others, and evasive.
In her previous work her models were set in simple interiors, revealing subtle differences in their form. In her new work, the actors and actresses are very close to Kain: her daughter, son, and even a self-portrait. The work is much more part of a narrative or drama that is quietly unfolding. Kain’s identity as an artist and mother is explored in a domestic setting, presumably Kain’s home. The work reads as a series of tableaux. When the Children Ceased to Play #2 depicts two of Kain’s children, masked, standing in a hallway, frozen, presumably by their surprise of seeing their mother. The Visitor portrays the outline of a hand, through a window, reaching up from behind an interior set with a couch, a flowerpot, and a lamp. We are intrigued, mystified, and even a little apprehensive to find out what exactly is going on.