Adrian Cox (born 1988) is a painter living and working in Los Angeles, California. His studio practice involves crafting an intricate and epic mythology with his paintings. In his work, he explores questions of identity, spirituality, and our relationship with the natural world. In creating his work, he draws inspiration from art history, science fiction, mythic archetypes, and his own experience of growing up in a closeted queer family. 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. Cox has exhibited his work nationally and abroad, including at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis, and the Oceanside Museum of Art.
Artwork Themes & Subject Matter
Adrian Cox’s work forms the ongoing mythology of the Border Creatures, a group of hybrid beings that live in the verdant wilderness of the Borderlands. These creatures are, both physically and spiritually, an extension of the landscape that they inhabit. Their anatomy combines human traits with those of the Borderlands, and they serve as caretakers of their wilderness home. These strange but peaceful creatures are artists, gardeners, poets, scientists, and mystics. When they dream, the landscape dreams with them. The Border Creatures are antagonized by the Specters, blue spirits of pure energy that are led by the Spectral King. These spirits casually burn the landscape that they walk upon and are alienated from the world that they inhabit. The Specters perceive that which is other as a threat, or as a resource reducible to its usefulness. The war between the Border Creatures and Specters is a conflict between two distinct ways of being in the world. From this struggle, a third group known as the Spectral Witnesses were brought forth into the Borderlands. These rainbow-hued spirits were once Specters, but they were transformed when they bore witness to a mystical revelation. This revelation was a spiritual awakening for them, but it also destroyed the worldview that had given them purpose and identity as Specters. These rainbow witnesses now wander the Borderlands, seeking a path to redemption.
Each image that he creates is an exploratory step leading deeper into a mythic territory that exists at the threshold of the real and the imagined, the physical world and the world of dreams. Although this imaginal space has its origins inside of him, it’s something that he created to have a life of its own. He invites viewers of his work to inhabit this landscape like a shared dream. Entering this space is a creative act, because, as with dreams, the symbols and stories that you will encounter there aren’t limited to fixed singular meanings. Each scene that he paint is a fragment of an ever-expanding myth. But paintings can’t speak, and the narrative that you piece together from these scraps of story is uniquely your own.
Adrian Cox’s paintings have been published in notable magazines and online sources including Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, Heavy Metal Magazine, and in the book Anatomy Rocks: Flesh and Bones in Contemporary Art.