Blake Cox makes his Park City debut at J GO Gallery
Sculptures part of ‘Summer Sol’ exhibit
July 25, 2017
A new sculptor will be introduced to Park City when J GO Gallery opens its "Summer Sol" exhibit during the Park City Gallery Association's gallery stroll this Friday.
Blake Cox — who creates ceramics coated with 24-karat gold, hand-applied luster — will show three of his new works.
Cox is looking forward to the opening, which will be his first at J GO.
"My mom and I went to brunch in Park City and did a gallery stroll on our own a couple of weeks ago," Cox said during an interview with The Park Record. "We walked in J GO, and I turned to my mom and told her I would love to show in this gallery."
Cox approached the gallery's co-owner Jude Grenny and introduced himself. Grenny decided to give Cox an opportunity to show with other artists, including abstract landscape painter Christine Sharp, mixed-media painter Heather Patterson and sculptor Curtis Olson, who along with Grenny owns J GO Gallery.
Cox's works are the result of his current studies in sculpture ceramics at Utah Valley University.
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The artist is doing a double major with print making, he said.
"The draw for sculpture was that I eventually want to be an automotive concept designer," he said. "I'm doing a double major in order to go to Rhode Island School of Design's automotive concepts program.
"UVU doesn't have an industrial-art design program, so the round-about way of doing that is to get a sculpture degree and eventually doing a masters in industrial design with an emphasis in automotive concepts."
The main challenge of sculpting for Cox is problem solving.
"You try to figure out the best way to make something work out," he said. "You try to understand the increments of time application."
Another challenge is creating works by hand.
"None of my sculptures are thrown on a wheel," he said. "So you have to write everything down and be meticulous in your record keeping, because every time you work on a piece, it's going to change."
Cox's creative process is different than most visual artists in that he doesn't use a journal or sketchbook.
"I have never fully taken to drawing to come up with a design," he said. "Everything is in my head. While I'm working on something, I kind of let the form — and this will sound a little cliché — do whatever it wants. I just work with something, and I use my artistic eye to come up with an appealing form."
One of the pieces called Pink is the result on an extended creative process.
"The bubblegum pink color was originally put on a different piece that didn't turn out," he said. "I applied it to a ceramic, but the finish split open, so you could see the stark-white base clay after it was fired."
Cox, undaunted, created a new piece and applied the same finish.
"I fired it the day before my art show at the Woodbury Gallery above the University Mall in Orem," he said. "I literally pulled it out of the kiln with kiln mits and put it in a box that I lined with high-temperature insulation and drove it to the gallery. I was expecting it to thermal shock and explode. But it didn't, and now it's at the J GO Gallery."
Another aspect about ceramics Cox enjoys is that the works he makes are never truly finished in his eyes.
"I always look at them and see things that could be redone," he said with a laugh. "So if you understand the concept of firing and temperature with a kiln, you can fire a piece as many times as you need to achieve what you want."
Cox also likes the process of turning watery mud into something many people consider beautiful.
"You start with something that doesn't look like anything and see the object come into fruition and end up with a solid piece of art," he said. "But the most rewarding thing for me is that you talk to people who have seen the work and they tell you how it affected them visually. That's cool because everyone views art differently."
Blake Cox's sculptures will be part of the Summer Sol exhibit that will open at 6-9 p.m. on Friday, July 28, at J GO Gallery, 408 Main St. during the Park City Gallery Association's monthly gallery stroll. For information, visit http://www.parkcitygalleryassociation.com.
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