Pius’ paintings entered my life sharing a booth during an art fair in Berlin with Martin Mertens, who had recently discovered Pius at a degree show. The allure of Pius’ works was already captivating, the sensual surfaces, the framed abstracted motifs, the warm, egg tempera like colour palette. But it was hard to imagine that such a young artist would expeditiously develop such a mature and confident painting style. It was also hard to imagine that his name, being a born and bred Berliner, was not an artist’s name. So partly jokingly, partly an ironic comment to a somewhat typical art market hype for Pius works early in his career, the title of the first UK show was born: Fox Hunting
Pius Fox’s paintings and works on paper are determined by two main factors: elementary compositions and colour, which he applies to emphasize features, reinforce borders and to link superimposed layers together. Though defined by simplicity, many works reveal a great freedom, deliberately switching between abstract and figurative, between monochrome and colourful. Often minimalistic in their design featuring geometric shapes, originally deriving from features of his studio interior like door frames, curtains and windows, the works have recently become more complex and symbolically charged through poetic titles.
His small format compositions of only few lines, basic grids and simple shapes remind us of the paintings of Raoul de Keyser or the abstract works of Richard Diebenkorn, though they greatly differ in the treatment of the surface. Fox likes to divide the image and not to treat the image area as a whole. He intersects his compositions by inserting horizontal, vertical and even diagonal lines and inserts painted or drawn frames surrounding a main part of his works. The spectator journeys through his oeuvre as if through a labyrinth, digging into depth to uncover what cannot be fully grasped at first sight.
Fox is a painter who appreciates traditional materials like oil on canvas or paper as well as watercolour, but for inspiration he also experiments with other media like drawing, photography and printing. Whichever medium he decides for, colour plays a central role and is often a starting point for the pictorial content. Fox thereby reverts to secondary and tertiary colors, frequently coloured grey tones: antique pink, grey-green, a blue or purple black. In addition, the works show a strong spatial quality, as Fox plays with different layers, overpaints elements or scratches on the surface to reveal the layer beneath.
Pius Fox has held numerous solo exhibitions in Germany, France, the UK and the US including a recent solo exhibition at the museum of FRAC Auvergne in 2016.
Exhibitions at the gallery:
Pius Fox, Alvar, 2017 (solo show)
House Hold Fold, 2015 (two-person show with Diana Sirianni)
kaleidoscope: re-shuffle, 2014 (group show with Sarah Bridgland, Francesco Pessina, Dillwyn Smith and Johannes von Stumm)
Fox Hunting, 2013 (solo show)
Breeder, 2012 (group show with Sarah Bridgland, Saad Qureshi, Peter Matthews, Katherine Murphy and Kate Terry)
Kaleidoscope, 2012, (group show with Sarah Bridgland, Henrik Eiben and Karsten Konrad)