Whether working in collage, animation, painting, drawing or sculpture, San Antonio artist Sarah Fox conjures bizarre dreams, fairy tales, myths and allegories. A near constant is the presence of animal-human hybrids — women and children either blessed or afflicted by squid tentacles, horse heads, beaks, wings or hooves. Femininity, including colors and materials stereotypically labeled as feminine, also informs her multimedia work, which has been shown fairly extensively on the local level (Artpace, Hello Studio, Blue Star Contemporary, Southwest School of Art, FL!GHT Gallery, the list goes on) as well as in Germany, Austria and Mexico.
A New Jersey native who grew up in Houston and counts authors Joseph Campbell and Rudyard Kipling among her influences, Fox recently adopted a son. This “amazing, exhausting, life-changing event” has deeply impacted her latest body of work. Beyond inspiring her to create “serious, engaging, meaningful work about love,” motherhood has led her to investigate masculinity along with “the pressures and constraints gender norms place on little boys so early in their life.”
A creative response to everything from onesies emblazoned with footballs and dinosaurs to flower-sniffing Ferdinand the Bull and Ponyboy Curtis, the sensitive “greaser” who narrates S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel The Outsiders
, “And Then I Met You” employs playful young centaurs as protagonists in an artful creation story that challenges tough-guy narratives. When quizzed about her affection for Aesop’s Fables and whether there are parallels to be drawn, Fox replied, “I am very interested in stories we sort of tell ourselves (as human beings) again and again and cross-culturally. … Maybe with the adoption story I was trying to tell an essential fable of love and sort of finding a home.”
Summed up by the artist as “an exhibition about the nature of little boys and the men that they become,” “And Then I Met You” comprises animation, cyanotypes, a self-published children’s book, a quilt and a music box incorporating fetal heart-monitor records from her son’s birth. During the opening reception, Fox will be joined by fellow artists Brittany Ham and Hilary Rochow for a fitting complement in the form of a shadow puppet performance.
Free, 7-10 p.m., Sat., Aug. 24, Sala Diaz, 517 Stieren St., (972) 900-0047, saladiazart.org.
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