The exhibition Frontier will showcase new works by Dylan Fox, winner of the Free Range Award for Best in Show at Free Range 2016, returning to The Truman Brewery in February 2017. This will be Fox’s first solo show in London after recently graduating from BA Fine Art at the University of Northampton, with works developed in his new studio at NN Contemporary in Northampton town centre.
Fox’s practice explores the physical, medical, emotional and social elements of his gender transition, from assigned female at birth to male; specifically the overwhelming frustration felt with current complicated NHS Transgender care pathways, and the lengthy waiting times this creates.
Frontier contains work based on Fox’s own experience in Florida while undergoing ‘Top Surgery’ in early 2016, as well as addressing his frustration and dysphoria felt up until that point when dealing with transgender healthcare from the NHS; Frontier also relates this experience to that of the American Dream and its implications for transgender rights as a whole today.
Social works include a new participatory piece, Candyfloss, which addresses the poignant unfairness of the NHS waiting lists for gender clinics in the UK and Safety Card, an interdisciplinary print, which uses sound and directions to the viewer, utilising a familiar language of air travel to disturb the viewer when interacting with the piece. In addition, some of the works in the show change on a daily basis to highlight key issues relating to the transgender community as well as provoking a new reaction to the visitors each day. The show also features more static works such a series of prints which combine digitally reproduced photographs of Fox’s childhood with screen-printed quotes from people during his transition, again bringing an element of social interaction in to the creation of the works.
American history points to the frontier line as the symbolic edge of the first European-American settlement, which gradually moved towards the west from the 17th Century as well as south in to Florida, and represents freedom for Americans. Today, this dream of freedom may now be seriously affected following the results of Florida as a swing state for Trump in the 2016 US presidential election, with possible greater implications on the LGBTQ+ community and transgender rights as a whole in America and the UK. Although Fox’s own dream of travelling to Florida was realised, these recent political events and the impact of current UK NHS transgender healthcare means that the full American Dream, of the Great Frontier, is still to be realised.
About Dylan Fox:
Since Free Range 2016, where he won best in show for his piece ‘border control’ which addressed issues of access and frustration with transgender healthcare in the UK, Fox has graduated from BA Fine Art at Northampton University and has secured a studio space at NN Contemporary, Northampton’s main contemporary art gallery.
His practice is interdisciplinary with a main focus on his gender transition. Fox draws from a ‘bank of ideas’ including, but not limited to; the language of travel, protest, heterotopic spaces and social interaction, across a wide variety of media including, but not limited to; print, sound, video, found objects and audience participation.
The reasoning behind drawing from these multiple media in different combinations for any one piece is in order to provoke a reaction from the viewer and create more intense feelings of the frustration felt by Fox and the wider transgender community at the various social and political hurdles they face as a minority group.
Dylan Fox’s practice explores the physical, medical, emotional and social elements of his gender transition, from assigned female at birth to male; specifically the overwhelming frustration felt with the complicated NHS Transgender Care Pathway and the lengthy waiting times this creates. Fox utilises archival, moving image, text based and sound works into an ongoing participatory, socially engaged body of practice based research.
Fox’s socially engaged works and participatory events are specifically developed to replicate the feelings of frustration and lack of control he feels throughout his own transition. Within his work there is an emphasis on the experience of waiting, often for something that will be unknown to each participant, the viewer may also be required to complete certain aspects of a work such as filling out forms or other instructions before being authorised to progress through an artwork. There is also a hype built around each event, usually built beyond what is realistically achievable, so that each participant can relate to Fox’s own experience of waiting and time in relation to disappointment and a lack of control.