New Additions to the AP/RC: Neal Cox

Neal Cox, currently on the faculty in the School of Art at Steven F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, is a native of Utah. Cox received his MFA from University of Texas, San Antonio where he studied with another AP/RC artist, Kent Rush. In 2019 Cox graciously gifted 85 of his prints and photographs.

Cox embraces various printmaking and photographic techniques, even creating an array of pin hole cameras designed and structured for task-specific projects. His cameras serve not just as image-fixing devices but as sculptural companions to his two-dimensional photographs. The artist gave us permission to reproduce images of his cameras on this site.

In 2017 he built a new camera and re-purposed another for a series of photographs he called, Accretions. One of the cameras took telephoto-like images and the other was like a wide angle lens. Cox used these cameras to photograph wads of gum dried up on sidewalks.  His found sites of ‘micro mounds’ captured the discarded hills of gum that slowly transformed their topography as each gathered dirt and debris.

Ten years earlier, 2007 Cox had built a icosahedron (a polyhedron with 20 faces) camera. With a single exposure he was able to capture 20 images. His fascination, he appropriately calls it “modular aesthetics,” with the geometry of cameras and image-making resulted in a string of cameras as tetrahedrons, icosahedrons, dodecahedrons, octahedrons, decahedrons, cubes and others. He even fabricated a panaoramic camera and a series of individual cameras configured as a geodesic dome. Cox printed his photographs as collotypes, gum bichromate prints and other media. An array of images from select cameras accompany this blog.

In 2013 Cox explained in a bit more detail his “modular aesthetics, My recent camera designs, based on Platonic geometry, allow for multiple film planes, spaced symmetrically one from another. I don’t think of the resulting images as photographs, per se, with a specific subject matter, framed in a deliberate manner. Rather, I think of them as marks to be used in a composite image such that the flattened version of the geometric structure of the camera is revealed in the final work of art. I’m very interested in seeing how each mark interacts serendipitously with the lines, shapes and values of the next mark. I consider both the photographic compositions as well as the cameras as finished works of art.

Cox also works with printmaking techniques such as linocut and other relief methods. His penchant for rationality and structure in photography echoes in his printmaking. He intricately carves small, regular shapes in exacting structures patterns to create an array of geometric patterns.

Taylor Ernst

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