Renée Fox is a painter with a wide range across realism, surrealism, and fantastical gynomorphic abstraction, whose subject matter always begins and ends in Nature. Her works range from intimate botanical detail works to expressive landscapes, poetic wildlife, avian tableaux and especially her large-scale, site-specific murals which enliven and unapologetically feminize architectural and public spaces from galleries to campuses and museums. She recently completed a suite of new natural history-derived works for a now-postponed March exhibition at Backspace L.A.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
RENÉE A. FOX: I like this question. I was five or six, and my parents were out so I was home with my three younger brothers and a babysitter. She saw me drawing and gave me a lesson on shading basic shapes to make them three-dimensional. I knew then that making art was like making magic and never stopped.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I began my formal art education at the Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. It was convenient because I lived there, but it had a wonderful reputation, and I understood that the quality of my education, teachers and learning environment would have a great effect on my career as an artist. I was serious about this direction as a lifelong learning experience and lifestyle. In 2000, I had the urgent romantic desire to move to California. I completed my BFA at Otis College of Art and Design, having chosen Otis for the same reasons as the Corcoran. Plus my credits were transferable between the two schools. In the end, what I value most about my art education are my instructors and classmates, all of whom contributed to my rich social network during school and ever since graduation.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I cannot imagine leaving L.A. My family lives back east. I do miss my family but L.A. has so many qualities I love it for — diversity, culture, room for new ideas, great weather, amazing cycling, a fantastic network of supportive people and a world class art scene, to name a few.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
These new images are three of the six current works that I made for a timely three-person exhibition called Never Ever Land, curated by Narges Hamzianpour. An excerpt from the press release reads, “Never Ever Land is focused on how global society is increasingly shaped by the precarious realities of migration, identity politics, environmental uncertainties, and threats to cultural traditions. The works in this exhibition collectively respond to these concerns and examine various roles that individual agency, self-expression, political hubris, and human progress play in influencing our understanding of them. In a combination of media, including paintings, prints, and a video installation, they imagine an alternate reality in which these concerns are engaged, and an expectant message of hope emerges.”
The show, scheduled to open March 24 was cancelled because of the pandemic. The curator travelled here from New York for this show, and has been isolated here ever since. I’m so glad she’s here and able to be my pandemic friend.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
I rarely get tired of Eric Satie Gymnopedies and lately, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Arcade Fire and U2 are amazing when I need more energy and I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferris podcasts. He interviews folks who tend to overachieve, and covers so many kinds of people, from artists, writers, financiers, entrepreneurs or politicians. The most recent was a fantastic two-hour conversation with Dita Von Teese.
Website and social media please!
Facebook: Renée A. Fox