The title of this work comes from the notion that there most of what we are as humans is unexplored and internal. There are vast unknown areas of personality; hence the "Dark Continents". I have a parallel notion ~ that what the "self" is, is really more like a committee. When you have an internal argument, who is arguing with who? The work on the panels began with an exploration of these personality parts. I started the painting by working toward a map or chart of self, but it evolved organically, as my work does.
The piece originally began as sound art. I've been working, very occasionally, on an album using sounds from my studio, field recordings from Belize, vocals, hand-made instruments and other sources, many sounds being highly processed and mediated. The album is still unfinished. You can find samples from it at crankensemble.com/thedarkcontinents.
I set a challenge for myself at the outset of the painting to create a coherent piece from 50 panels, and also have each panel function as a stand-alone painting. I also wanted them to work in groupings. I suppose I was inspired by Arts Benicia's Mosaic Project. I got wonderful birch-plywood panels from Mike Kendal's recycling center, originating from Ruszel Woodworks. It's painted with acrylics. I mixed many of the colors from dry pigments. Like the Mosaic Project, every panel is designated by a letter on the vertical axis and by a number on the horizontal axis. Each panel also has a title. For example, the top left panel is titled "Moon", and is designated A1.
I shot still photos of the work while I was painting, and then created a time-lapse video from them, which you can see here: http://youtu.be/BND1O9u-vPg.
As the painting progressed it became apparent that it was, among other things, a requiem and a self-portrait. My dad died in 2005, and my little brother and my mom died in 2006. I'm still working though some grief. D9 and D10 are portraits of my mother, Nova June Fox, and father, also named Larnie Fox, at the beach in the mid 60's. D2 and D3 are portraits of my brother Tim Fox and our mother in the kitchen of our house in Slippery Rock Pennsylvania, also from the mid 60's. These images are painted from projected slides that I think I shot. Near the portraits of Tim and Nova are flowers painted from life. There are two small self-portraits at B3 and C10. B3 is from a slide shot in the mid '80s in a Southern Utah canyon, and C10 was painted from life on cold, dark day early in 2013. The entire piece can also be considered a self-portrait.
Thank you for the time you are spending considering this work.
Larnie Fox, Benicia, 10.25.13