School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Nick Fox

Lecturer in Fine Art



Central to Nick Fox’s painting practice is his fascination with narratives of desire. Often subversive, and made in combination with objects, drawings and context specific installation, the work takes the form of drawing and painting, installation, and intricately laboured Objet d’art. Fox’s practice is informed by disparate and sometimes contradictory reference points and layers of meaning.

His recent projects include Unveiled, with Francis Picabia, Jerwood Contemporary Painters and the touring solo exhibitions Phantasieblume and Nightsong. Fox is currently Artist in Residence at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland.

“Nick Fox’s paintings are compounded of difference - complex and disparate layers of imagery and meaning borrowed from high art, domestic decoration and subcultural symbology. Referencing Neoclassicism, Victorian visual culture and contemporary pornography, they are simultaneously clear and elusive. They engage with the matter of paint, are painterly in execution and yet their surfaces are as un-‘painty’ as it’s possible to be [...]This is part of the system of concealment and disclosure which Fox uses as both the form and content of his works, and, uniquely, their process of production. [...] Built up slowly from layers of acrylic paint laid over glass sheets, this replaces the usual rewards of visible development, with deferred gratification and Fox finally delivers [...] fusions of fine art and craft which turn his works into exotic hybrids.”

Stephanie Brown, The Tuberose, the Incubus and Endymion from Nick Fox: Phantasieblume, co-published by AEN and C4RD, 2010


Research Interests

Central to Nick Fox’s painting practice is his fascination with narratives, often subversive, and in combination with domestic objects, drawing and context specific installation.

Building on the delicate relationship between fine art and craft, his visual research explores representational and material orthodoxies in painting languages though two symbiotic strands: a physical exploration of the narrative potential of the paint material and the exploration of visual and symbolic codes of romantic desire and explicit eroticism, reflected in historical pictorial systems and personal codes of concealment.

His seductive drawings, mirrored paintings and craft objects reveal an intoxicating blend of graphic sexual imagery and Victorian floriography, creating elusive narratives and unsustainable utopias. Fox’s imaginary landscapes are seductive, luring the viewer ever deeper. Drawing on a vast bank of sources, Fox transforms the found taboo image and context (of photo-reproduction porn or fashion) into one of intimate and emotive experience. Languorous male figures emerge from his sensual and craquelure surfaces while overlaid botanical imagery fuses a symbolic role to his themes of desire, longing and loss. These tantalising idylls and elusive narratives are often rendered in dark or overripe colour that, along with his painting process, create a toxic fog, an Eden after the fall, one where innocence has been banished.

Major Projects such as Unveiled with Francis Picabia at MOCA London, have enabled Fox to make new work which reflects on the erotic narratives of historical paintings. This project, in counterpoint with Picabia’s Femme aux Perles, resulted in the production of a number of significant works including “Tableaux”, an 18ft site specific painting which was draped under the museums collection of texts. Other works from this series included Parlour, selected for Jerwood Contemporary Painters 2007, touring Nationally to London, Cardiff and Manchester.


Phantasieblume's research explores the interrelations and contradictions between drawing and painting, fine art and craft, investigating the potential significance of deliberately blurring these boundaries.

Utilizing the traditional material of paint, Fox developed innovative ‘cutting’ technique: a labour-intensive process that signifies devotion. This enabled a new exploration of the contemporary currency, symbol and cultural meaning of longing, seduction, desire and romance. Applying layers of ink and acrylic paint directly onto glass, intricately cut, he thus created and exhibited a series of skins of paint, “drawings” and “paintings”, which subvert the traditions and expectations of those mediums.

Reference points include: Neo classical and Vanitas painting, Victorian visual culture, literature, craft, pornography and subcultural codes. Fox draws upon floriography, the secret language of flowers that was a Victorian cultural phenomenon using flowers as tokens to communicate hidden or forbidden pleasures within normative courtship rituals. Fox was also informed by the mechanics of underground courtship rituals where floriographic imagery was employed through a range of Fin de siècle Literature sources (Wilde and Huysman etc) to indicate secrecy, sex, taboo and sexual encounter. The subsequent wide scale and public definition of floral codes exemplified by Kate Greenaway’s 1884 “dictionary” The Language of Flowers, marked the migration of its meaning from the potent to the polite, underground to the normative, the real to the artificial, the sexual to the sentimental.

‘Phantasieblume’ was developed as a series of solo presentations at C4RD (London 2009), VANE Gallery (Newcastle 2010) and Hå gamle prestegard (Norway 2011). Dialogues between craft and innovation in contemporary fine art practice were explored through group drawing exhibitions at Fruehsorge Contemporary Drawings (Berlin), The Burton Art Gallery & Museum (Bideford) and Torrence Art Museum (LA).

‘Metatopia’, a work from this series, was awarded a Major Prize in the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize (2010) and has since become part of the National Museums Collection (2012). It is currently on permanent display at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

‘Phantasieblume’ was further contextualized and disseminated in an artist monograph (2010), which featured essays and text contributions by Philip Austander, Stephanie Brown, Paul Stone, Andrew Hewish, George Chakravarthi, Matthew Hearn and Clive Jennings. Funded by Newcastle University and ACE, partnered with the National Glass Centre, Art Editions North and Centre for Recent Drawing as part of the prestigious Documents for Recent Drawing series, the book was distributed internationally by Cornerhouse, Manchester. A second edition of the monograph was also produced in Prussian blue, with a limited signed Artists print (50 copies)


‘Nightsong’ is a substantive grouping of artworks, events, exhibitions and a publication exploring the personal symbol and cultural meaning of longing, seduction, desire and loss. It includes distinctive glass objects, sculptures, drawings, paintings, video installation and live events. The research explored a range of contemporary modes of practice spanning and blurring fine art and craft.

‘Nightsong’ questions the elusive emotional register of sentiment, wisdom and emotional experience through symbol, material and visual art form. Fox’s research is specifically informed by mythologies of romantic idealization, longing and coded articulations of desire. Individual works in ‘Nightsong’ explore the physical and emotional instability, and the bittersweet intensification of longing, that comes as a result of rejection and loss.

One of the outcomes of ‘Nightsong’ is The Longing Archive, a collection of physical examples of the languages of social courtship and the ephemera of romance. Two live-art projects analysed and disseminated this subject matter: Write a Love Letter, through which members of the public were invited to submit their own love letters to the archive, building a unique record of contemporary desires, and Longing Disco, a live art event in which participants submitted song choices connected to their own courtship stories, creating a performance exploring the relationships between music, sentiment and longing.

The research also culminated in a series of objects influenced by diverse sources including 7th Century stained glass, Neoclassical painting, Fin de Siècle literature, decorative glass, floriographic imagery and lunar mythologies. Through original, labour-intensive methodologies, the research developed and extended Fox’s ongoing exploration of the tradition of devotion to labour as an enduring token of sentiment. Compared to Fox’s earlier research (notably in Phantasieblume), ‘Nightsong’ “seeks out a more direct index between raw sentiment and its visual articulation” (Matthew Hearn in his critical text, commissioned by Hå gamle prestegard to accompany the exhibition ‘Phantasieblume Nachtlied’)

A limited edition, spoken word vinyl contains a sequential listing of all the 118 songs submitted for The Longing Disco held on the 1st February 2013 at Vane, Newcastle. Each song choice is followed by contributors’ personal stories of longing, either recorded by the contributors themselves or, in the case of written submissions, anonymously narrated. For more information on the Longing Disco, or to listen to the submitted stories, please visit:

‘Nightsong: Nick Fox’ was published by Art Editions North in 2013, with essays by Michael Petry and Matthew Hearn, plus an interview with Grainne Sweeney and Nick Fox.

Exhibited at VANE, Newcastle (2012-13) and at Hå gamle prestegard, Stavanger, Norway (2011), as well as in numerous group exhibitions, the research was funded through a National Glass Centre Sunderland residency (2009-2010), Arts Council England and Newcastle University

Current Work

Fox is currently extending his research established in ‘Nightsong’, working on a series of delicate drawings of the body based on ‘Echo’.

Fox’s recent sabbatical from teaching facilitated a period of study at Kupferstichkabinett AKA Staatliche Museem in Berlin. This new research project provisionally titled ‘Redefining Narrative’, involves researching 84 of Botticelli’s cycle of Divine Comedy drawings made to illustrate Dante’s Inferno. Fox’s future aim is to begin the production of a series of new works for exhibition that explores simultaneous narrative, in particular the parallels between historical and contemporary modes of practice.

Past Work

In 2006 Fox was invited by the Director of MOCA London, Michael Petry, to participate in a new curatorial programme which coupled younger artists with historical artists. This two-sited exhibition At MOCA London and the Royal Academy Schools Gallery, represented his concerns with eroticism and desire by employing contemporary interpretations of historical narrative painting. His resulting Exhibition ,Unveiled , at MOCA London, presented new work in counterpoint with Francis Picabia’s Femmee aux Perles which enabled parallells to be drawn on the universality of the erotic impulse. Other work exhibited at MOCA were Tableaux, an 18ft long site-specific painting made from a single skin of paint was sited below the extensive collection of museum texts and music room, a regency musical table covered with a ‘tablecloth’ of acrylic paint featuring decoupage and drawn and painted surfaces, insinuating a historical context to the work. He concurrently exhibited 11 new paintings at the Royal Academy Schools Gallery, Hornsey. A Significant piece made for this show was Parlour, a three-dimensional painting made of a reproduction Edwardian table covered with a ‘tablecloth’ of acrylic paint. This work was selected for the Internationally recognised Jerwood Contemporary Painters Touring Exhibition in 2007.

Funded by Future City and St James’s Homes, a publication documenting work from this two site exhibition was published by MOCA London in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Arts. The accompanying text was written by the art Historian John Cairns. ISBN 0-9552577-0-0

Postgraduate Supervision

MFA Supervision of Studio and Dissertation

Esteem Indicators


Solo Exhibitions


2013 Nightsong, Vane                                                                                                                                  2011Phantasieblume Nachtleid, Hå gamle prestegard, Stavanger, Norway                                               2010 Phantasiebume,Vane Gallery, Newcastle
2009 Phantasieblume, Centre for Recent Drawing London
2007 Nectary , Lawrence Graham, London
2006 Nick Fox, New Work, Royal Academy Schools Gallery, Hornsey
2006 Unveiled, MOCA, London, with Francis Picabia. Catalogue Published by MOCA London in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Arts 2006, ISBN 0-9552577-0-0


The Longing Archive: Write a love letter, National Glass Centre, February 2010                                             The Longing Disco: Vane, Newcastle, 15th May 2010                                                                                 The Longing Disco: VANE, Newcastle, February 1st 2013                                                                                “I stole a look” music/visual collaboration screened at Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard London SE1 2TF collaborative project with C4 collective, performed at Southwark Playhouse, 2008


Monographs                                                                                                                                       Nightsong: Nick Fox, (2013) Edition of 1000. Hardback, 96 pages, full colour. Edited by Matthew Hearn. Essays by Michael Petry, Matthew Hearn. Interview with Grainne Sweeney and Nick Fox. Published by Art Editions North (2013), Distribution by Cornerhouse, ISBN 9781906832070

 Phantasieblume, Nick Fox, Red Edition. Hardback 64 pages, full colour, Edited by Andrew Hewish and co-published with C4RD and Art Editions North. (2010) Distributed internationally by Cornerhouse, Manchester. ISBN 978-1-907226-04-5

Phantasieblume, Nick Fox, Blue Limited Edition. Hardback 64 pages, full colour Edited by Andrew Hewish and co-published with C4RD and Art Editions North. (2010), Distributed by C4RD.  ISBN 978-1-907226-03-8

Nick Fox, Unveiled and New Paintings
Published by MOCA London in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Arts 2006,
ISBN 0-9552577-0-0, 15pages,
Full Colour Illustrations.

Catalogues                                                                                                                                                    2011 Print Awards, International Print Biennale exhibition catalogue  (2011) (p66/67, illustrated). Published by Northern Print ISBN 978-0-9555846-5-7

John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize 2010, Exhibition Catalogue (2010)

Golden Rain (2008), Catalogue published by MOCA London in conjunction with HA gamel prestegard. ISBN 978-0-9557699-3-1

Jerwood Contemporary Painters 2007
Exhibition Catalogue
Published by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation

Jerwood Drawing Prize 2002 catalogue
Exhibition Catalogue
Published by the Jerwood Foundation

Celeste Art Prize 2006 Catalogue
Exhibition Catalogue

2008 Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship 2008 Selection Panellist
2009 Hines Urban Gallery, One Sririt Showcase Project, London,
2008 Invited to participate in “Golden Rain” a Michael Petry project for on the edge, and Stavanger 2008, Norway. Exhibited for Ha Gamle Prestegard and Stavanger 2008, with Catalogue.

Books                                                                                                                                                 Nature Morte: contemporary artists reinvigorate the Still -Life, published by Thames & Hudson (English, German and Dutch editions). Ed. Dr Michael Petry.

CatalogueTexts:                                                                                                                                     All Change – New Beginnings, Introductory text, BA Fine Art Degree Show Catalogue 2012.

Group Exhibitions

2013/14   Winter Show, September, Berlin                                                                                                   2013  Gifted Chart Gallery, London

2013  LaunchF81, New York

2012 Aid & Abet, Cambridge

2012 Dorian Project, The Apartment Project, NY

2012 Phantoms, Angus Hughes Gallery, London

2012 Permanent Collection, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

2012 Polemically Small, Orleans House Gallery, London

2012 London-Berlin, Centre for recent Drawing, London

2011 London-Berlin, Fruehsorg Contemporary Drawing, C4RD, London

2011 Polemically Small, Torrence Art Museum, Los Angeles

2011 Polemically Small. Charlie Smith, London

2011 International Print Biennial 2011, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle.

201140 artists 80 Drawings, Burton Art Gallery and Museum

2011 Mail Please, Blythe gallery, Imperial College, London

2010 John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize 2010 (Prizewinner), Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool                      2010 Hand Joy, Centre for Recent Drawing, London                                                                                  2009 Hines Urban Gallery Project, London                                                                                                 2009 40 artists 80Drawings, The Drawing Gallery
2008 Baltic , Arena Gallery, Liverpool Biennial 2008
2008 Works on paper, Centre for Recent Drawing, London
2008 Annual Pride Art Exhibition, Clifford Chance, London and Clifford Chance, New York
A simultaneous exhibition of work by gay and lesbian artists
2008 Nature 00 Contemporary Art Projects, (group show) London2008
2008 TEN, Dueche Bank, group Show
2008 “I stole a look” music/visual collaboration screened at Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard
London SE1 2TF collaborative project with C4 collective, performed at Southwark Playhouse.
2007 Kettles Yard, C4 presentation, “ I stole a look” Collaborative film Performance .
2007 Faster than Sound, New music Festival. Collaborative film performance“ tableau”
2007 Jerwood Contemporary painters (touring)
2007 New British Painters, Curated by Flora Fairbairn, London
2007 New projects, Contemporary art projects
2007 The London Art fair, the Drawing Gallery
2007 Grotto, Studio 1.1, London
2006 Salon connexions, Contemporary art projects, London
2006 This Longing, the Drawing Gallery, London
2006 Seventeen Gallery: Pulse Art Fair, New York
2005 Ten, Seventeen Gallery, London
2005 Lekker, Group show, APT gallery, London
2005 Crusaid, Royal College of Art, London
2005 Los Angeles Art Fair, Western Project.
2005 Twisted Nerve, Keller Greene, LA
2004 Western Projects, Miami Art Fair
2004 20th Century Perspectives, Burlington Fine Art, London
2004 A Fine line, Euroart gallery, London
2004 Issues of Identity, The art house, Westbourne
2004 The Armoury Show, New York
2003 Vanitas, Raid Projects, Los Angeles
2003 Art Futures, Contemporary Art Society
2002 Jerwood Drawing Prize (touring)
2002 Summer Show, Davies and Tooth, W1
2002 Flash, Belfast
2002 Art Futures 2002, London

Residencies and Awards

2010 John Moores C0ntemporary Painting Prize - prizewinner

2009-10 National Glass Centre, Sunderland Aug 09-dec 09
2007 Aldeburgh, 5-day residency summer 2007.
2007 Jerwood Painting Prize 2007 award winner
2001 Postgraduate research Award, Arts And Humanities Research Board, 1998-2001
2001 Newby trust Ltd Award, Royal Academy Schools, 2001
2000 The Victoria Levin Fund Award, Royal Academy Schools, 2000
1995 Travel Award, Hunting Art Prizes 1995,


Jigsaw, AP Kearney, Museum of Contemporary Art, London, Sir Norman Rosenthal, Jean Pigozzi Collection. David Roberts Foundation.  Walker Art Gallery, AN Magazine, British Museum, V&A museum. .

RESEARCH LECTURES AND GALLERY TALKS                                                                                    

“In conversation” with Nick Fox & Grainne Sweeney, Vane Gallery (Newcastle), 29th November 2012

Walker Art Gallery June 2012

Hå gamle prestegard, Stavanger, Norway 17th April 2011

St Helens College, 24th January 2012

Liverpool Hope University 23rd January 2012

Camberwell College of Art, UAL, 12th January 2012

Hatton Gallery, Newcastle  11th October 2011

Newcastle University (Visiting Speaker Programme April 2010)

Vane Gallery, Newcastle  (panel discussion with George Chakravarthi, Mathew Hearn and Clive Jennings) 2010

National Glass Centre 2010

Sunderland University 2009


The Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award 2009 (Newcastle University)

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. 2009

Journal Culture Award in Visual Arts for the exhibition “Phantasieblume” (2010)


1. Guardian Guide (preview section, review by Robert Clarke, illustrated, Sat 12th January 2013 p35):): 

2.“ Playing with gold dust”- Review of Nick Fox; Nightsong.  The Courier (James Ricketts), December 2012

3. International Print Biennale, Review featuring Echo (2011) by Catherine Spencer 2011

4. AN, Knowledge Bank, July 2012 (extended interview with Alice Bradshaw, illustrated)

5. Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway (Cover and double spread article by Eli Naesheim, 15th April 2011, extensively illustrated)

6.  “In light of violence”, critical review of PhantasieblumeNachtlied by Sigrun Hodne (illustrated), May 2011

7. Guardian Guide (preview section, Sat 14th May 2010 p38):  readership of 283 063

8. AN Magazine, April 2010 (front cover and inside cover story) readership of 30000

9.  NE1 magazine (NE1 listing recommendations, illustrated, 28thNovember – 12 December 2012)

10. Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway (Cover and double spread article by Eli Naesheim, 15th April 2011, extensively illustrated)

11.  “In light of violence”, critical review of PhantasieblumeNachtlied by Sigrun Hodne (illustrated), May 2011

12. International Print 2011, review by Catherine Spenser 2011

13. AN Magazine, April 2010 (front cover and inside cover story)

14.Sunderland Echo 2nd Feb 2010, p6 (Marissa Carruthers double page article, illustrated)

15. Metro Newspaper 20th January,  (double page illustrated article, Sam Wonfor)

16. The Journal Culture Magazine: February 2010, p 45 (2 page article by Sam Wonfor)

17. The Journal Newspaper online. 14th Feb 2010

18. BBC Radio Newcastle.  Fox’s research was broadcast on BBC radio Newcastle in February and March 2010

 19. Artist Newsletter, Reviews section, Jerwood Contemporary Painters, (p6) April 2007

20. Artists Newsletter, Emerging Painters Show  (p 21) March 2007

21. Open Frequency, Selector Paul Stone 2009

Website Links:

Nick Fox Unveiled with Francis Picabia at MOCA London
Paul Stone’s Text on Axis Open Frequency


Arts Council England:

November 2012 (£9992)

April 2010 (£4924.5)


Newcastle University REF Aiming High 2012 £5000

Faculty Research Fund Newcastle University £4000 (2010)

School Research Fund Newcastle University £450  (2010)
School Research Fund Newcastle University £450  (2011)


Nick Fox website:

 VANE gallery website featuring Nightsong:

Guardian Guide (preview section, review by Robert Clarke, illustrated, Sat 12th January 2013 p35):

Vane Gallery website featuring Phantasieblume

AN Magazine April 2010 (front cover)

Walker Art Gallery, John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize 2010 Prizewinner page

John Moores review, Sandra Gibson:

Volta Art Fair Press release featuring a description of Nick Fox’s work,d.d2k

Volta Art Fair Artists Page: Nick Fox, presented by Vane

Walker Art Gallery, recent acquisitions:

 Liverpool Daily Post Review, 16th Sept 2010

A-N review, Katherine Woodfine


Undergraduate Teaching

 Fine Art BA year1,2,3,4

 Final year Programme Coordinator

Postgraduate Teaching

MFA Supervision year 1,2