Mortal Process wins Bronze Award

The Hangzhou Bay International Sculpture Grand Prix 

The China Academy of Art and the Hangzhou Bay Area Development Committee received over 1,000 entries and collected 70 sculptures for the finalist exhibition.  The final selection included 1 gold, 2 silver, and 12 bronze awards.  The 15 awarded sculptures will be enlarged and sited at Hangzhou Bay Area in Ningbo, China.

Mortal in China  to see all 15 awarded sculptures


Art theory, in its constant pursuit to redefine art and its cultural relevance, has recently favored sculpture that pushes the boundaries of human interaction and cultural content.  Some of the most exciting developments in art today include artworks in video, installation, performance, and relational aesthetics. As an art educator and appreciator, I enjoy contemporary art theory and the most cutting edge directions in its evolution…  as an art maker, however, I value the “art object.”

For me an object itself represents the most fundamental expression of life through the act of synthesis.  So, I have chosen to focus on the “object” in my work and to exploit the physicality of form along with the ability of form to remind the viewer of their connection to the natural world.

In this new work-in-progress, I am turning my attention to my upbringing in the Rocky Mountain West.  I have spent my entire life in the West, aside from 4 to 5 years in New York, Chicago, Mexico, and traveling Europe.  My perspective has been deeply influenced by a raw exposure to the rural West’s dramatic land, weather, and extant lifestyle.

As I contemplate this new work, it occurs to me that verticality has a special and fundamental affect on our human psyche. In relative terms there is a preponderance of horizontality in our physical and experiential world. I am always struck by the visual impact of almost any object in the expanse of the West.  It is clear to me that if gravity had its way… everything would be flat.  It then follows that any 3-dimension object is a testament to life-force and resilience.  Everything that has a vertical dimension is either “alive” or the result of some “living” process.  Earth processes create mountains and gravity slowly grinds them down creating complex forms and character. Life forms reach for the sky and humans build monuments that represent our perennial dance with the forces of nature.

Artist Statement

“Naturalizing the Digital”

“Sculpture’s prerogative is to confront us with the fact of our material, physical, bodily reality, making that fact available to thought and feeling — and making it sociable, an open secret shared with others in a common space.” Peter Schjeldahl

We modern humans are inclined to rationalize and digitize our environment. We delineate boundaries, build boxes, and design grids. Even our language can be viewed as a way of capturing ideas and feelings into discreet packages of information that are words.

Nature, on the other hand, has no such discreet boundaries. It is clearly Analogue. Its language consists of forces, processes, and materials. Discreet objects grow or crystallize from the energy of the universe.

Art can be viewed as the thing that reaches back from our rational constructions to bring meaning to our place in the natural world. Writers, poets, and musicians create analogue like flows of words to remind us of our true nature. Makers also reconfigure discreet materials into analogue expressions that resonate with our connection to the world.

I try to make sculptures that appear as if they grew from the interaction of natural forces and human intention.

The sculptures exploit the physicality of form and materials to confront the viewer with their connection to the natural world. They also encourage the viewer to experience preverbal feelings about growth processes and to consider ideas of origin and potential.  As our evolution, through the advent of digital and virtual technology grows, I find myself compelled to emphasize the importance of our natural and physical environments.

While I continue to explore and utilize digital processes, I do it with the express goal to underscore the physical and analogue characteristics of existence.

Francis Fox

12 September 2010