Devra Fox’s eccentric realism

Jonathan Goodman, Two Coats of Paint , November 12, 2021

Devra Fox’s thirteen graphite drawings on view at Hesse Flatow in Chelsea, two blue and the rest gray, depict structures organic in presentation but with an eerie resemblance to manmade objects such as furniture. They reflect both technical virtuosity and a vivid imagination. Somewhat like Clayton Schiff – though Fox’s drawings are not as exaggerated and less colorful – Fox conveys a troubling and mysterious natural world that does not quite match reality. Given the massive changes occurring in our habitat from climate change and overcrowding, her odd growths may be warnings of environmental disaster. Against that eventuality, a submerged human connection – she says images of stones, in line with Jewish teachings, stand for the soul – and persistent depictions of envelopment may together suggest a longing for love and nurturing.