Adrian Cox' "Border Creatures" on Display in Australia
Adrian Cox' new series of oil paintings Sensory Garden is up at beinArt this month. In this body of work, Cox creates "border creatures", these anthropomorphized collections of minerals, plants, and organic matter, grouped together to make visually stunning and richly colored oil paintings that attempt to traverse the borders between natural and unnatural, animate and inanimate, human and inhuman.
Adrian Cox’s “Sensory Garden” presents a glimpse into the lives of the Border Creatures, a race of hybrid beings that inhabit the lush wilderness of the Borderlands. In this exhibition, Cox explores the deep symbiotic relationship that the Border Creatures share with the Borderlands. The characters in these paintings tend to the animals and plants around them and serve as gardeners for their wilderness home. Likewise, the flora, fauna, and crystallized mineral deposits that bulge from these figures’ bodies suggest a kind of unity with their environment; the figures in these paintings are inseparable from the natural world. They represent monstrosity transformed into beauty.
Cox uses the mythology of the Border Creatures to raise questions about how we understand human identity and otherness. Despite the grotesque anatomy of these figures, they are presented as empathetic, and shown to engage in profoundly human pursuits. The Border Creatures are lovers, artists, poets, philosophers, musicians, and scientists. From the amorous relationship between Painter and Snake Gardener to the bond of scholarship between Big Dreamer and Big Thinker, this grotesque race of beings is shown to be fundamentally compassionate and earnest. Throughout these paintings, the Border Creatures overcome their seemingly monstrous forms and connect with each other and their environment through a state of perpetual wonder.