HORROR VACUI. Samantha Haring and Adrian Cox

A Two-Person Exhibition

Paintings by Adrian Cox and Samantha Haring

June 17 to July 29, 2016

Opening Reception: June 17 from 7 to 10 pm
Artists Talk: July 15 at 8pm

Walking Big Dreamer by Adrian Cox
Walking Big Dreamer by Adrian Cox

The term horror vacui literally means “fear of empty space.” This two-person exhibition juxtaposes the sublime and the grotesque in order to speak to contemporary global issues. The world is full of distractions; with smart phones in our pockets and the Internet at our fingertips, it is almost impossible to tune out the noise and find true quietude. Both artists show the effects of this relentless distraction: Cox through dense, layered imagery and richly detailed creatures, and Haring through the inevitable gathering of detritus and dust in the studio.

Cox’s paintings situate the grotesque within the beautiful, creating a complex narrative of seemingly incongruous juxtapositions. His jewel-like colors and painterly application reward looking; yet his flayed and deformed figures speak to the darker side of human nature and earthly reality. Haring’s paintings, on the other hand, strip away the noise and distractions of the world to rediscover universal truths in the mundane. Her empty studio spaces and quiet tones reflect both a meditative simplicity as well as the overwhelming burden of isolation.

Together, the two bodies of work speak to the same experience of vulnerability through opposing lenses. Both show a clear commitment to contemporary painting, perception, and storytelling. Haring’s work embraces the clarity and minimalism of empty space, while Cox’s work uses horror vacui aesthetics to revel in the chaos of the world. Seen together, the works raise questions about mortality, accumulation, and the inevitable ravages of time. The sublime and the grotesque are two sides of the same coin: in both exist great beauty and great loss, simultaneously. Balancing the two is an ever-present, complex, and universal struggle.

Charybdis by Samantha Haring
Charybdis by Samantha Haring

About Adrian Cox

Adrian Cox (born 1988) is a painter living and working in St. Louis, Missouri. Adrian’s studio practice involves a continuing exploration of transgressive bodies in figurative painting. In his recent work, he seeks to create a mythology of the grotesque, representing the morphic body as a heroic and empathetic subject.

Cox attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate studies, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 2010. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2012, and was awarded the Desert Space Foundation Award upon graduation. Adrian has exhibited work nationally, recently including the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum of Art, Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle, Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, Modern Eden Gallery in San Fransisco, and Zg Gallery in Chicago. His paintings have also been printed in the nationally distributed publication Direct Art and the International Painting Annual 3 published by Manifest Press, as well as reviewed online by Hi-Fructose Magazine. Adrian currently works as a lecturer in painting in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in Saint Louis.

About Samantha Haring

Samantha Haring is a Midwest painter from Des Plaines, Illinois. She makes quiet paintings that discuss the nature of loss and the inherent duality of absence and presence. Haring earned her MFA from Northern Illinois University (2014) andher BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011). She has also studied

in Italy at the International School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture; it was there that she fully developed her commitment to light, color, and observational painting. Haring’s work has been shown nationally. Recent group exhibitions include the Wet Paint MFA Biennial at the Zhou B Art Center, the Rockford Midwestern Biennial at the Rockford Art Museum, and New American Paintings: Midwest Edition at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Her work is published in issues #119 and #123 of New American Paintings as well as the Manifest International Painting Annuals 4 and 5. Haring was an Artist in Residence at Manifest Gallery from 2015-2016. She currently lives and works in Cincinnati.