Face Time (VIDEO)
On April 23, 2020 the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University hosted a virtual Creative Industries Discussion with Visiting Artist and Scholar in Teaching (VAST), Grayson Cox, moderated by Artist Hollis Witherspoon. Cox is a New York City based artist working in a variety of media, from painting and printmaking to photography and furniture-like sculpture. His shows have been reviewed in multiple publications including the New York Times, Art in America, Artnet.com and Time Out New York.
From Grayson Cox:
My response to Celebrating Wild Beauty is not oppositional, cynical or dismissive but rather, challenging and challenged. I am curious about the relationship with humans and the environment during this extraordinary time of isolation and natural rebirth, of our sudden trajectories and heavy leaning on interfaces and platforms, and our innate thirst for human connection and the freedom of wild existence. For several years, I have been playing with the object of the iced coffee as a symbol of modernity, of slight excess and indulgence, of the treating and cheating of time and temperature of something as simple as a humble hot cup of coffee. The iced coffee acts as a sort of secular iconography of upwardly mobile freedom, that extra $5 to purchase a pick-me-up. It photographs well, it remains cold and soothing, and it contains the remnants of destruction, the plastic straw that was recently banned, just to make the experience slightly more comfortable.
I am interested in how the trappings of modern comfort support and suffocate us. The American ideal is a sated consumer with an iced coffee in one hand and a screen in the other. But In this time of Covid-19, our cognitive dissonance is being revealed as we wrestle with what we hope for the world and what we want for ourselves. We find ourselves wholly reliant on modern ‘comforts’, of TV and delivery and internet and zoom everything. And it is exhausting. The iced coffee implicates the viewer into a position of longing. For what could be, for who we could see, and how we could be seen. It remains wildly frivolous as we re-acquaint ourselves with survival. This symbol of urbanity becomes even more poignant in our moment of isolation, particularly as I take refuge in a more beautiful natural environment outside of my hometown of New York City. These images render these treats as half-gone and wasted status accessories; potentially undrinkable protagonists in a story that is still being written. In more recent works, this object begins to converse with other familiar symbols of middle class convenience. The ubiquitous Alexa, anthropomorphized to make use feel both human and in control as we attempt to order toilet paper and choose our music. She is our intimate confidante and erasure of privacy. In this time, we are saturated with and in these modern icons, all while longing for what is natural, exposed, raw, dirty, open, connective and ultimately, free.
About Grayson Cox:
Grayson Cox is a New York City based artist working in a variety of media, from painting and printmaking to photography and furniture-like sculpture. He was born in 1979 in Indianapolis, Indiana, received his BFA from Indiana University and spent two years living and working in Tokyo before moving to New York City in 2005. Grayson received his Masters of Fine Art from Columbia University in 2010. Grayson is the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artistic innovation and collaboration grant, National Society of Arts & Letters Career Award, the Daisy Soros Prize, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency. He has exhibited in New York and internationally including the Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland; Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Tel Aviv, Israel; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; The New Museum, New York; Elizabeth Foundation, New York; The Fisher Landau Center for Art, Queens, New York; Kunsthalle Galapagos, Brooklyn, NY; The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, NY; and the Sculpture Center in Queens, NY.Grayson’s most recent solo and two person exhibitions have been held at Pressure Club Gallery in Philadelphia, Gasser Grunert Gallery in New York, and Planthouse Gallery in New York. His shows have been reviewed in multiple publications including the New York Times, Art in America, Artnet.com and Time Out New York.
Grayson is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
Visit Grayson Cox Studio at www.graysoncox.com
Creative Industries Discussion moderated by special guest artist Hollis Witherspoon who is a Brooklyn-based performer, teaching artist, and therapist whose work revolves around collaboration, improvisation and character studies. Withersoon studied anthropology and theatre at Princeton, Acting at the Esper Studio, and drama therapy at NYU. She teaches in the fine arts department at Pratt institute where she created the course ‘Improv for the Artist’ and is currently teaching performance art here at Southern Oregon University this semester. She’s been in direct conversation and collaboration with Grayson Cox for the past 14 years.