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Heroes, icons and idols are eternal examples of truth and greatness. Throughout the centuries, artists of any kind have served themselves of the symbols and compositions that can be found in sacred and mythological iconography, attempting to translate them for their contemporaries to see and understand. Nowadays, painters like Alex Foxton, remind us of the beauty and truths that can be unveiled by ancient myths and metaphors, while suggesting interesting and forward-looking aesthetics for future generations to embrace.

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British painter Alex Foxton, currently lives in Paris, working tirelessly both on his technique and his narratives, constantly seeking for contemporary glimpses within ancient and forgotten stories. In one of his latest shows at Galerie Derouillon, the artist exhibited  an interesting and mature analysis surrounding the icon of Saint George, examining both the figure and the myth, creating a dialogue surrounding both the body, and its internal and external presence, and the metaphor, in all of its meanings and truths. In these magnificent canvases, the figure of Saint George is portrayed in a variety of different settings and contexts, each of which are developed around some of the key moments of the famous myth: the rise, the moment of greatness, and the death of the hero.

 

Alex Foxton, Saint George II (Arrest), 2020. Oil on linen.

 

“The inhabitants were terrified to see the dragon approach, but George reassured them, telling them not to be afraid because -God has sent me to you to free you from the dragon“. 

Besides all of the aesthetical, and rather astounding intuitions that are presented in this series of paintings, what stands out is the painter’s freedom in the usage of the icon and its narratives. Alex Foxton uses the stories of Saint George to give birth to metaphors of his own, creating a disruption in the common knowledge regarding the figure of the hero. The warrior, the defeater of the monster, whom is thought to be rebellious, brave and violent, is presented in all of his isolation and abandonment, in his passiveness and acceptance of faith. What commonly refers to the emancipation of manhood, is translated into something fragile and solitary. As Foxton states himself: “uniforms, like suits, function as purely symbolic armour”. Therefore, the painter is free to combine a variety of diverging narratives and elements at his own will, overtaking customs and traditions to create inedited and unspoken stories.

 

Alex Foxton, Saint George V (Battle), 2020. Oil on linen.

 

The expressive potential unraveled by Foxton’s paintings, is further enhanced by the artist’s choice in terms of color palette and composition, which remind us of some of the greatest examples of the past century, such as Matisse, Braque and Picasso, and create a vivid sense of freshness and forward-thoughtfulness. 

The viewer, when put before Foxton’s paintings, is accompanied in an adventure within the secrets of iconography and mythological narratives; stories which are told by the artist using a contemporary and fresh vocabulary of images, allowing the painter to act as guide in the observer’s path towards a better understanding of his own self and his surroundings. 

 

Alex Foxton, Saint George VI (Victory), 2020. Oil on linen.

 

Alex Foxton, Saint George III (Murder), 2020. Oil on linen,

 

Cover image: Alex Foxton, Saint George III (Murder), 2020. Oil on linen.

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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