The Sweet and Burning Hills
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The Hollywood Hills are on fire in Danny Fox's latest exhibition, "The Sweet and Burning Hills," at Alexander Berggruen. Intensely atmospheric and dreamy, Fox's new paintings are inspired by his relocation to the Hollywood Hills, which inspired a shift to more introspective, subject-driven paintings.
Fox paints what it feels like to live through the languor and remoteness of the floating houses and empty pools within the Hills. His work captures the spirit of an idyll that verges on the uncanny—one where his subjects while away the hours at the edge of danger.
Across these compositions, heavily painted figures lounge against backgrounds of trees and smoke, their expressions of languid indifference at odds with the flames. They seem unmoored from the surface of the painting, floating somewhere before the landscape. But where there's smoke, there's fire, and allusions to the blaze are never far away: a woman reclines before a pair of candles; another holds a lit cigarette. The show's titular painting [pictured] depicts a woman rendered in thick impasto brushstrokes, a brilliantly green grinning mask leering from beneath her chin as her body fades into transparency to reveal a landscape consumed by flames. Soon to be ash or a memory, the impermanence of the terrain is mirrored in the fading figure.
Danny Fox, The Sweet and Burning Hills, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 72 inches.