past CHG show February 24 - March 31, 2018 ADRIAN COX Terra Incognita Adrian Cox INFO & PRESSSEE SHOW
Terra Incognita
February 24 - March 31, 2018

Adrian Cox  “Terra Incognita"

The St. Louis-based painter, scholar and philosopher is one compelling story teller. For his forthcoming exhibition, Cox shares: "For the past seven years, I have used my paintings to shape the mythic narrative of the Border Creatures. In this personal mythology, I seek to raise questions that are fundamental to a contemporary human experience. These works challenge how we define the Monstrous and the Other, and propose a reconsideration of the categories of the natural and the transgressive. These overarching themes are grounded in the lives of my recurring characters, and play out in the actions of Veiled Healer, Painter, Snake Gardener, Big Thinker, Big Dreamer, and the other Border Creatures.

The Border Creatures are a race of hybrid beings that live in the verdant wilderness of the Borderlands. Preceding the events of this exhibition, these grotesque and sensitive characters have lived in a kind of utopian harmony. In Terra Incognita, this Golden Age comes to an end when the Borderlands are invaded by the Specters, a race of spirits whose nature is antithetical to that of the Border Creatures. The destruction that these beings bring to the lush ecosystem of the Borderlands drives the creatures into hiding, forcing them to conceal their nature in order to survive. They are at last delivered from danger through the transformational journey of their champion, Veiled Healer. Donning the Fatherdress, a supernatural garment that serves as a bridge between the masculine and the feminine, Veiled Healer undergoes a transfiguration in which she is simultaneously mother and father to the Border Creatures. The Specters who witness this change become unbound from their static binary state, and begin to change form themselves.

The motifs and themes in these paintings draw on a myriad of references, and blend elements of art history, science fiction, mythic archetypes, and my own experience of growing up in a closeted queer family. In Terra Incognita, a transgender parent becomes a mythic hero, a protagonist who's path to self-realization represents a quest for spiritual wholeness. Rather than simply serving as a biographical allegory, the resulting narrative presents an exaltation of fluid identities, and creates a space where qualities that might be misunderstood are shown to be profoundly beautiful."