After graduating from the Alberta College of Art,
Patrick Cox co-founded a successful illustration and design studio.
In 1982 he left the business to paint full time.
Painting with remarkable precision and detail, Cox
has established a reputation as a high realist. This style suggests
literal representation, yet is markedly interpretive. Working
from a foundational concept, Cox does not hesitate to manipulate
the elements of composition until only the essential details,
shaped to his purpose, remain.
While the intellectual framework underlying a painting
is important to Cox, he is not heavy-handed with thematic elements,
preferring subtleties that leave viewers free to interact with
his work on a personal level.
In human subjects Cox looks not for shallow charm
or glamour, but for depth and uniqueness of character. Capturing
and intensifying a select moment, his paintings seem to strip
away the noise and busyness of life, leaving only the still essence
of something humanly significant. The artists ability to
find the extraordinary in an ordinary scene makes his paintings
Coxs art is strongly tied to the land and
history of the west, as is his life. In 1880, his Great Grandfather
Malcolm Millar traveled up the Missouri River by steamboat to
Fort Benton, Montana, and then overland to Canadas Fort
Walsh to join the North West Mounted Police. After serving during
the North-West Rebellion, Millar homesteaded near Calgary. He
married Helen Shaw who, riding in an oxcart, had come west to
Fish Creek with her family in 1883 ahead of the railroad. The
spacious log home of Malcolm and Helen became a popular social
gathering place, eventually giving rise to the community of Millarville,
which adopted the Millar family name.
The artists paternal grandfather, Orville
Cox, came west in 1897, and married Mary Sophia Aldridge, whose
family had arrived in 1888. Orville and Mary farmed a homestead
at Twin Butte, where Orville also served as community blacksmith.
Of similar significance is Coxs maternal Grandfather,
Leslie Victor Douglass, who as a young man worked winters for
legendary Alberta (then North West Territories) cowboy John Ware
before purchasing a ranch of his own. It is the milieu of this
rural heritage that provides Cox with much of his artistic inspiration.
But his art does not reflect the stylized, romantic
west of popular mythology. Coxs vision is more authentic.
Whether in the ruggedness of an age-gnarled hand, the strength
of character underlying a sun-creased face or even in his softer
depictions of youth, Coxs focus tends toward the unaffected,
deeper qualities of life. Unpretentious dignity, the reflective
moment and the links between past and present are themes that
appear often in Coxs paintings.