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In the Frame for February 2014: Figgy Fox’s ‘Alone’

Ldbth817 Alone C 1993 B

“Alone. Yes, that's the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn't hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.” - Stephen King

At the beginning of his artistic career in 1987, Figgy Fox described his art as an effective activity for alleviating his symptoms of boredom. However, as time passed, he developed an uncontrollable impulse to create pieces of art, painting for up to twelve hours at a time. According to Fox, his art became a necessity for exorcising his dark thoughts, which invaded his mind through lucid visions, dreams and nightmares. So began his compulsive painting, whereby putting his mind to paper brought him some relief. He regarded his collection of art as an important weapon in his battle against chronic substance abuse, psychosis, and depression.

Through his compulsions, emerged “Alone”. This striking watercolour painting shows a lone figure standing in an archway, the background behind him blackened by engulfing shadows. The feelings conveyed by the figure are of a chronic sadness, shown both in his posture and facial expression. Hunched and turned away, the figure gives no evidence of vitality. The stark hues emanate a chilling sensation, with the figure's skin bearing the same texture as the walls that surround him. His face, long, expresses sadness so deep and permanent that it casts shadows. His legs appear to be cemented, as if rooted to the ground beneath him, guarding the emptiness that lies behind the archway and into the darkness, representing his fear of letting people enter his domain. Another interesting aspect of this piece is the eerie foetus appearance of the figure, the lack of fully formed features suggests an emphasis on the vulnerability, emotional and physical, of the figure. His thin limbs and naked body only strengthen this idea.

Whether the figure is a projection of the artist himself or of someone else is it is unknown, but it is a question that begs to be asked when looking at this painting. However, Fox has often said that the imagery and symbols in his work were a direct result of the isolation he felt produced by his psychosis, so it is entirely possible this piece is a rumination of his mind while suffering from his illnesses.

I chose this painting for its simplistic, yet powerful and eye catching appeal, which contrasts Fox's other works, which are full of colour and of provoking abstract scenes. Though it may seem, at first glance, it has little to tell other than the obvious, it draws the viewer in nevertheless.