Bather | Oil on Canvas | 41" x 66" | 2012

Borderlands (Cavern) | Oil on Canvas | 66" x 48" | 2014


Artist Statement: My work weaves a narrative of transgressive embodiment and builds a mythos of the grotesque. The characters in these paintings obliterate the natural limits of the body; sensuous extensions and wound-like openings facilitate an intense connection to their environment. I call these figures Border Creatures, as they are defined by such shifting and indeterminate boundaries. The environment in which these Border Creatures live implicitly becomes a borderland, an interstitial space that holds conflicting qualities in equilibrium. Rather than serving as a wellspring of identity for my characters, the landscape is shown to be as mutable as its inhabitants. The primal savagery of the wild forest becomes the museum diorama, the anthropological display, and a stage built from historical conventions. The resulting narrative is one of malleable embodiment, in which the qualities that we perceive as essential to identity are but temporary modes that shift within changing contexts.


Adrian Cox (b. 1988) is a painter living and working in St. Louis, Missouri. Adrian’s studio practice involves a continuing exploration of transgressive bodies in figurative painting. In his recent work, he seeks to create a mythology of the grotesque, representing the morphic body as a heroic and empathetic subject. Cox attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate studies, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 2010. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2012, and was awarded the Desert Space Foundation Award upon graduation. Adrian has exhibited work nationally, recently including the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum of Art, the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, and Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati. His paintings have also been printed in the nationally distributed publication Direct Art and the International Painting Annual 3 published by Manifest Press, as well as reviewed online by Hi-Fructose Magazine. Adrian is the gallery coordinator at the Millitzer Gallery, an alternative artspace in Saint Louis, and currently works as an adjunct lecturer in painting in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in Saint Louis.