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Belinda Fox

For Belinda Fox, returning to the town where she grew up meant reflecting on how place impacts an artist. Having lived and worked in three countries since 2013, she sees herself as a person who is “nourished by where she lives.”

Fox is clearly nourished by her practice, with a love of making that permeates and is influenced by all elements of her life. This can be seen in the wide range of techniques she has perfected, the multiple references informing each work, and the deep connections she has made with others through her art.

To Fox, “all those disparate and small pieces add up to my career to date,” and this progression can be seen in Add It Up, opening at Mildura Arts Centre in June. This is an exhibition in two parts: a survey of selected works from the past twelve years, and the “collage room,” a homage to Mildura including existing works from the Gallery’s collection and two exciting new pieces made with the local community.

The diversity of materials exhibited is notable, but what is more remarkable is the level of complexity and refinement across all forms – painting, printmaking, drawing, ceramics, and sculpture. It is obvious that this is an artist who is passionate about her work and is constantly seeking new ways to express her ideas. The inclusion of collaborative works reveals Fox relishing the experience of learning new techniques and creating something exceptional through shared conversations and experiences.

An example is Rising Tide, 2020, a hinged cabinet lined with paintings and housing a concertina artist book. The cabinet is made by Wilfred Kalf, a bespoke furniture craftsman who Fox met in the Netherlands and became great friends with through the process. Both elements of the work are exquisitely rendered and couple to make an object of overwhelming beauty, elevating both artists’ work to reflect upon an important issue.

Add it Up sees Fox collaborating with community for the first time. Students from the Mildura region have been invited to contribute artworks, poems, and letters to be incorporated into two large-scale collage works. Not only is the community integral to the production of the works, they are also invited to engage with the artist as she creates in situ. This untested process brings a level of apprehension, but also excitement. “The whole project is about bringing the community into the gallery, to feel connected, so it feels right to be available for them to see the work being made.”

The Collage Project is also a way for Fox to honour her formulative years spent in Mildura. The works in this room are filled with references to the area, from the evident (the river, local bird species) to the personal (the roses her mother grew, memories of learning perspective at the local TAFE). These layered works reflect a lived experience of place; the encounters, settings, and emotions that shape how we perceive our environment and form a sense of place.

Common threads persist across all works, such as “a deep sense of humanity and nature. A concern that we take for granted our planet and all that is precious about it. The wonder and worry of human nature.” These universal themes transcend boundaries and help account for why her works resonate so strongly with audiences throughout the world.

The paper installations Finding my way I and II, 2009, incorporate elements of Fox’s past works, reflecting the idea that “my past is always informing my future.” It is a privilege for both artist and audience that this progression can be made tangible, on display in the town where her story began.

This article was originally published in Artist Profile, Issue 63

EXHIBITION
Add It Up
3 June – 13 August, 2023
Mildura Arts Centre, Victoria 

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