LA Photographer Martin Cox Opens Solo Show Amidst Iceland's Growing Art Scene
This summer, Los Angeles-based, UK-born photographer Martin Cox will open an ambitious solo exhibition, Far Away Right Here at the Husavik Museum in Iceland. Many of the photographs that will be on exhibit stem from Cox's month-long residency at the Fjuk Art Center in Husavik Iceland in 2016. While in residence in Husavik, Cox explored the climate and created a series of images that were inspired by the landscape and history of Husavik.
His key project, is a large, site-specific photo collage, an image of the local harbor in Husavik, made of hundreds of hand printed photographs that he shot in various light and weather conditions. Cox tells a visual story of the port, its trades, and activities; weather, mountains and light are major characters. He extends time in this work by including old photographs from the museums own historic archive showing activities in the port from long ago. The future is represented by including images of local children, photographed by their parents. Mostly completed in his studio in LA, the final images of the collage will be added as work is mounted in the museum.
Cox has acknowledged the influence that growing up in the port town of Southampton, England, an industrial location and its adjacent country of Hampshire has had on his work. Coupled with his explorations of the deserts surrounding Los Angeles, Cox remains fascinated and inspired by the silence, distance and geography of these compelling landscapes.
A counterpoint to the collage, Cox will also present a series of almost monotone landscapes depicting surrounding valleys. His series Snjorteikning (Snow drawing) looks at the extreme minimalism in the nearby landscape under heavy snow that was specifically shot when conditions of the snow laden sky transformed the vista.
Scale and colour are investigated in a third project of twilight photographs of the banks of snow plowed up into heaps to keep the town's streets clear. As twilight sets in, Husavik's own street lights provide the vibrant lurid and varied colour temperature and direction of light to illuminate these partially man-made creations.
Speaking about his interest in landscape, Cox explained, "I work with landscape to better see it. Landscape is us and our activates projected onto a larger time scale; erosion, land use, agriculture, geology, weather, industry and plate tectonics all unfold as clues around us, and quite likely provide the chief undercurrent of emotion in our daily lives. Operating, as it were, out of the corner of the eye, occupying the base note to our experience. Landscape is time marked. Landscape is as a map of the past, a reflection of now and our future. Human concerns projected; erosion, land use, agriculture, geology, weather, industry, climate change and plate tectonics all unfold as visual clues. Landscape operates as the chief organ of sentiment in our lives, existing out of the corner of the eye, yet occupying the base note to human existence."
Iceland being a country that abuts the arctic circle, is experiencing climate change in dramatic fashion. The vast calm of these valleys belies inchoate cultural shifts forged when changing climate allows agriculture, thereby land use, to break from a thousand years of tradition.
Drawn to subjects where culture and nature rub together, recurring fascination is the visual impression time has made upon a place and how transition is being revealed. His photographs suggest the passage of time and presence of history with projects beginning as visual investigations then drawing upon research.
Martin Cox has been exhibiting since the mid-1980s. His solo exhibitions include Stranded, LOS ANGELES MARITIME MUSEUM, CA 2012-13, Summer Navigation: Passage through the pastoral (an 18th Century English Machine in the modern era), BALLARD'S GALLERY, Los Angeles 2011 and Perfect Echo, GALLERY 3517 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 2011. His group exhibitions include: LAND: Interactions Pasadena Photography Arts at Keystone Gallery, Los Angeles, 2015, Figurehead, FIX, Los Angeles 2014, Two Sides of the lake, FIX, Los Angeles, 2013.