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Painting and Drawings by Cedric Michael Cox
September 5-28, 2024

Opening

6-9 pm, Friday, September 6

Artist Talk
1-2 pm, Saturday, September 14

Closing
1-4 pm, Saturday, September 28

About the Artist

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Cedric Michael Cox is best known for his paintings and drawings that merge surrealism and representational abstraction.  As a student at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), Cox was awarded a fellowship to study at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland.  After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 1999, he began to exhibit regionally and nationally. Cox’s paintings catapult color into rhythmic action with abstract and recognizable images that create compositions inspired by themes in music and the natural world.  His work remains true to sharing Cox’s innermost self as his passion radiates from the canvas.  Working under several influences, including architecture and art history, Cox’s work ranges from cubist-inspired geometric compositions to cityscapes, landscapes, and curvilinear floral-like forms, all dancing within surrealistic environments. In addition to his work in corporate collections, Cox has executed several large indoor and outdoor murals in various public and private schools, libraries, businesses, and community centers within and around the Cincinnati Region.  Cox’s past exhibitions include The Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, The Weston Art Gallery, The Columbus Art Museum, the Dayton Art Institute, Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn, the Museum of Science and Industry and Gallery Guichard in Chicago, and The Taft Museum of Art.  In 2019, Cox’s work was exhibited at the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati; in 2020, he had a solo exhibition at James Ratliff Gallery in Sedona, Arizona.  A 20-year retrospective exhibition was created for Caza Sikes Gallery, along with a commissioned body of work for the Kinley Hotel Cincinnati in 2020. Later that same year Cox became a member of Black Art Speaks and collaborated with other artists from the group on the “Black Lives Matter Mural” in front of Cincinnati City Hall. In 2021, a series of 64 paintings were installed for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  In 2022, Cox created his first of two large-scale paintings for the Dayton Metro Library, and that summer, he executed four outdoor murals for the community of Avondale that stand as monuments to the healing spirit of joy and community pride. This past Summer Cox was commissioned by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to create his largest mural to date for their new elephant house. Cox’s work has been featured in books, magazines, and on television throughout his career.

Artist Statement

The paintings and drawings I create are intended to build bridges between the past, present, and future for both individuals and ALL groups of people, through stylistic ideas and expressions that crossover into many genres. Historically, my interest in art draws from cubism at the beginning of the 20th century. In contemporary terms, I have been noted to create images that relate to elements of urban architecture, highlighting areas of the city in which I lived and worked. My intention was to create a kind of architectonic lyricism. Much of my work still combines elements of cubism and deconstructionism, thus combining my interests in musical composition and its relationship to my visual world. A change in rhythm can be compared to a change in line, weight, brushstroke, value, and pitch. Though my work has characteristics of abstract art, I encourage my viewers to reexamine material culture through my art; therefore, my abstraction is not totally non-objective. It is semi-abstraction. In recent years my work has increasingly transitioned into bolder, brighter color, as a shift in mood and tempo creates drawings that originate as studies and become important to my process. The forms seem to grow like plants and flowers interweaving together in my vivid pictorial arena. While incorporating shapes that reference biomorphic forms in nature and internal human anatomy, I combine recognizable imagery placed in natural and man-made environments to create paintings that celebrate the enduring positive spirit of humanity through passionate color. This use of vibrant color adds a dreamy and playful quality to my work. As a child, I was passionate about putting my interpretation of the world around me on paper, later forging those images into paintings. I want the child I once was to be represented in my paintings on a visceral level and simultaneously express the refinement of a maturing culmination. The personal becomes universal. Art is an important way for me to communicate and subsequently build relationships with others. My work is a spiritual testimony to the visual experiences that arouse my senses. As I examine and interpret the world around me, I seek to share an exquisite interplay of subtle and bold. In my youth, I struggled to express social and political commentary with my art; however, when I would attempt to do so, I found that my personal aesthetic and ambition to challenge myself creatively suffered. Though I was inspired by artists of all genders, ethnicities, and genres because I was open to all mediums, I believed that all people would accept my art as an African American if I made it apparent in my imagery and subject matter that I was African American. Of course, I closely identified with the inequality of living in America at an early age, but when trying to implement or express these emotions through my paintings, I noticed that my work was becoming somewhat calculated and lacked authenticity. I switched from painting to drawing so that color would not describe my forms, intending that the pencil guide my subconscious in creating a unique conscious vision for me, by me. Thus, my abstract voice was created! My portraits became an inner reflection of the people, places, and objects that surround my everyday life. I did this by creating rhythmic anatomically inspired renderings that told my story through abstraction. I found that it is vital to be true to one’s self in his or her form of expression. In order for me to be truly free from the self-imposed bias or pre-conceived notions of race and gender and creatively express, share, and experience art with all people, my personal intentions must come first. With my art I intend for the personal to become the universal among all groups of people, as we celebrate individual freedom, find our likenesses, and harmonize our differences. I proudly proclaim undeniably that I am a Black Man creating art and my individual drive and vision will always transcend society’s-imposed biases and perceived limitations of my people. Whether the struggle with identity is internal or external, I ongoingly reach above and beyond boundaries to write my own history and success. Cedric Michael Cox 2023

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