Even forgotten myths act as fertilizer for new stories to grow. LA artist Adrian Cox returns to Corey Helford Gallery this month with a new batch of beguiling paintings that build upon the rich mythology embedded in his previous work.
Featuring 25 new paintings, The Brush and the Torch marks Adrian’s fourth exhibition at Corey Helford and broadens the fantastic story at the heart of his work. “My paintings chronicle the lives of the Border Creatures, a group of hybrid beings that live in the verdant wilderness of the Borderlands,” Cox explains. “The Border Creatures exist in symbiotic harmony with the natural world, but are antagonized by the Specters, spirits of pure energy that casually burn the landscape that they walk upon […] the war between the Border Creatures and Specters is a conflict between two distinct ways of being in the world.”
To live in the borderlands, as poet Gloria Anzaldua would say, implies you’re “caught in the crossfire between camps.” Though his work is pure fantasy, Cox deftly draws parallels between the persecuted Border Creatures and those caught in the crossfire of modern myth-making. Adrian, who grew up in the Deep South with closeted queer parents, is especially sensitive toward harmful myths surrounding the LGBTQ+ community.
“My parents are about as far from traditionally Southern as it gets,” he says in an interview with Voyage LA. “There was a good bit of social camouflaging that we did to blend into the community there. One of my mothers is transgender, and my parents decided that we would have to live closeted for the sake of safety and job security,” he continues. “We cooked up a false family history to convince people that my parents were totally heteronormative.”
While Adrian occasionally draws a straight line from mythmaking to violence, The Brush and the Torch reflects on the healing power of creativity with an expansive levity that opens a new chapter in his exquisite world-building. “The Brush and the Torch is an exploration of the nature and source of creativity,” he explains. “The story that unfolds in this exhibition suggests the importance of cultivating internal imaginal landscapes and depicts spiritual development as an engagement with the world rather than a departure from it.”
The Brush and the Torch runs through July 8, 2023, at Corey Helford Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, please visit their website here.
“The Brush and the Torch is an exploration of the nature and source of creativity.” — Adrian Cox
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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