Choir in the Sky
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 60 inches
Cedric Michael Cox is best known for his paintings and drawings which fall between surrealism and representational abstraction. His work expresses themes ranging from mythical literature to the relationships between the physical body, musical allegories, natural, and man-made landscapes.
As a student at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cox was awarded a fellowship to study at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. After receiving his BFA in Painting in 1999, he began to exhibit locally and regionally.
Cox has had solo exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Center, the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, PAC Gallery, and Weston Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts. In support of his efforts in the visual arts and art education communities, the City of Cincinnati awarded Cox the Individual Artist Grant in 2009. He received a Congressional Award in 2010.
His art has been featured in magazines, on television, and in the college textbook Drawing: Space, Form, and Expression. In addition to his work being in corporate collections, Cox executed two large-scale public murals for the city of Cincinnati and murals in various Public Schools in the Cincinnati region. His recent exhibits include the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, the Phoenix Gallery in Chicago, Sacramento’s Evolve the Gallery, the Harlem Fine Art Exhibition, the Williamsburg Arts and Historical Center Brooklyn, NY, the National Arts League, Douglaston, NY, and The Robeson Gallery at Pennsylvania State University. In 2013, Cox returned to Chicago for the Black Creativity Exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry and in July of 2013 Cox had his first solo exhibition in New York at Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn. In 2014, he returned to New York exhibiting his work at the Skylight Gallery, Arcilesi/Homberg Fine Art and later that year he had a retrospective of his work at Northern Kentucky University followed by an exhibition at Thomas More College in 2015. The Dayton Art Institute awarded him the Yeck Artist in Residence in 2015 and in 2017, Cox had a solo exhibition at The Taft Museum of Art and continues to exhibit his work locally and nationally.
My art conveys overlapping aesthetic concerns, evoking ideas ranging from early modernism to contemporary postmodernism. My paintings and drawings are intended to build bridges between the past, present and future, both amongst individuals and all groups of people, through stylistic ideas and expressions. Using positivism as my basic humanistic approach to art and life, and the interstices in between, I communicate through my artwork, as Rauschenberg proposed with his primary aesthetic/cultural challenges.
Historically my art draws from the radical creativity of Cubism at the beginning of the 20th century; as the work of Picasso and Braque, who took objects such as a guitar or wine bottle, fragmenting them into recognizable pieces on the canvas, and were meant to propose a fracturing of reality in combination with a fracturing of the picture plane. In contemporary terms, I deconstruct the meaning of music in particular (as a musician as well as a visual artist), and the elements of urban environments/architecture, including areas of the city in which I live and work. Much of my work combines elements of Cubism and deconstructionism, thus combining my interests in music and urban culture. I encourage my viewers to reexamine material culture through my work, therefore my abstraction is not totally non-objective: it is semi-abstraction. I choose to work along with biomorphic forms and shapes used by Surrealists and artists such as Paul Klee.
This, along with my increased use of bright color, adds a dreamy and playful quality to my work. I want the child I once was to be represented in my paintings on a visceral level, and at the same time an adult one. In my work I compose the painting’s structural underpinnings, including literal elements from the worlds of music and architecture, and of course, from paintings and drawings themselves. I strive to make clear in my work the similarities between a musical composition and a visual composition; a change in rhythm or pitch can be compared to a shift in line, brushstroke, value, and pattern. The personal becomes the universal.
My work in the past four years has increasingly transitioned into bolder brighter, primary color; as a shift in mood and tempo, and the drawings which originate as studies, becomes important to my process. The forms seem to grow like plants and flowers with natural and man-made forms interweaving together in a vivid pattern. My intention is to create the kind of architectonic lyricism in the abstractions of Kandinsky, along with the rhythmic curvilinearism of the arabesque, and the geometries, which reach back to Plato’s ideas of the Idea/Ideal.
As a child, I possessed the passion to put my interpretation of the world around me on paper; later forging those images into paintings. I became a visual artist as an important way for me to communicate, and subsequently build relationships with others. These qualities in my work were formally recognized in my junior college year when I was awarded a fellowship to study at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. I have been honored with solo shows in two of the premier Cincinnati exhibition venues: the Weston Gallery at the Aronoff Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Arts Center. I am also an art educator.
In support of my efforts in the visual arts and in the arts education fields, I was awarded an Individual Artist Grant in 2009 by The City of Cincinnati and The Congressional Award in 2010. My work was exhibited at The Museum of Science and Technology in Chicago-Black Creativity Exhibition- and was awarded second place prize. Additional exhibits include Sacramento’s Evolve the Gallery, and the Harlem Fine Art exhibition in New York City. That year my work was also exhibited at the National Art League in Douglaston, NY, and at the WAH Center in Brooklyn. In July of 2013, I returned to Brooklyn for my first solo exhibition at FiveMyles Gallery and in 2014 I showed at Skylight Gallery and Arcilesi | Homberg Fine Art in Brooklyn. I intend for my work to continually engage individuals where I live and teach and to expand my national and international relationships. My work is a spiritual testimony to the visual experiences that arouse my senses and my synapses, as I examine and interpret, the world around me, quietly and loudly.
Cedric Michael Cox, 2016