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Art & Life with Deirdre Fox

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deirdre Fox.

Deirdre, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I balance my time between art and law.

I grew up one of six kids in Evanston-Skokie. We each had our own way of standing out from the pack. Mine was drawing. For a long time, though, it was simply something I did. I also liked knowing how things worked and solving problems. At Northwestern, I studied the chemistry and physics of materials, especially the structure of materials. Then, I went to law school with the idea of resolving conflicts. I started practicing law, rising to partner in a large law firm and practicing across the country.

After one particularly long trial come to a close, I found myself with a bit more free time. I tried to get my dad to pick up photography and drawing again — he was very good but had let it go as he was raising us. I was not succeeding. This made me think. I did not want to look back and not have seen what I could do with my drawing. So, I took time away from my law practice, started doing commissioned portraits, and took classes at the School of the Art Institute to figure it out. I had some great teachers. During a class on drawing figures in space with Elizabeth Rupprecht, I started really seeing figure and space break down into shifting lines and planes, thinking about liminal space between things, and wanting to enter and occupy and exit and reenter that space. This still plays a significant role in my process. In that effort, I began to think about reducing physical materials themselves into the points, lines and volumes of drawings. In a corner of my work space, some empty soda bottles for recycling caught the sunlight, making me patently aware of their presence. I started transitioning them from discarded objects into sculptural drawings. And I have been exploring this transition since.

I started practicing law again, with my partners at Scharf Banks Marmor, LLC, I represent clients in complex commercial and intellectual property disputes. I love supporting my clients’ vision, energy, and goals while helping them navigate obstacles.

Now, I balance time in the office and courtroom with time in the studio and in seeing and experiencing art as much as I can. I love the challenge.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I turn trash into visual poems,

Making work that appears disposable, but is not, opens up for discussion the contemporary paradigm of building in obsolescence.

My drawing materials are disposable plastic bags, bottles, fabric scraps, and other detritus. I fold, crochet, knit, weave, collapse, inflate, stretch, and assemble these materials to be points, lines, and volumes held together by the site and light in which they are situated. I accommodate and countermand the language of the material and its physical volume. Working with scale, I chase the perception that occurs in shifting focus between what falls just barely within perceptual vision to what occupies central focus, relaying as gesture what is a thinner than expected demarcation between permanence and transience.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
Defining a happy balance and success in a world of competing demands. Finding time to focus on creating work while also being constantly engaged in getting the work out into the world and balancing responsibilities from day jobs to families to passions that occupy us alongside our art and figuring out how to carve out a sustainable place for our work in the barrage of information and imagery that inundates us all.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Upcoming, I will have a piece, “Hold the Corner,” in the 2018 Evanston & Vicinity Biennial at Evanston Art Center from August 31 through September 30, The opening reception is August 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.

I welcome studio visits by appointment. Mana Contemporary Chicago, #603, 2233 Throop St.. in Chicago.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photo of Deirdre A. Fox in Studio by Kevin Penczak Photography.
Other photos by Deirdre A. Fox
Tom Van Eynde

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