Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carson Fox Teaches Lessons on Imminent Danger

Now my dear, just be Careful! ...Okay, this is what you Don't want to do!  
The instinctual recoil one experiences when seeing  Carson Fox's message-laden prints throws us all back to the days when, as children, our grandmothers and mothers told us not to play with matches, or not to play too closely to the stove for fear we'd get burned. The intentions of our well-meaning, doting parental units - to instill fear into our little naive souls and bring us face to face with the reality of our actions  - is clearly illustrated here., 
This is gonna hurt!
Fox, however, repeatedly uses the arms and hands of a slightly older (19th c. by the look of her lace-covered sleeve) girl and she has placed these delicate appendages in somewhat compromising positions. The young woman's innocence and naivete is apparent if she would willingly submit to the objects about to harm her. *Note there is no other person involved holding the so-called 'dangerous' objects to inflict pain or maim. Therefore we can only see these prints as teaching tools of 'what not to do' to ourselves, or to our cousins or siblings. They are visual lessons of what will happen if one doesn't listen to warnings or puts themselves into harm's way, or doesn't pay attention to the pain that will ensue momentarily. In any event, the work warns that consequences come from ignorant or risky actions, and we cringe with understanding.  
For instance,  the genteel woman below allows her arm to be the temperature guinea pig for what would appear a pot of hot water or coffee; which would make her either seriously mentally deficient, or a masochist who likes that kind of scalded flesh sensory overload. In either case, the result is not going be pleasant.
Watch out!  That's HOT!
Likewise, the idea of a woman below curiously submitting her sweetly-refined forefinger to the salaciously sharp shears encircling it will shortly find reason to stop pruning her roses and give up gardening altogether. The red background surrounding the hand and shears mimics blood spatters and we feel her impending pain all the more acutely.
That will surely leave a mark!
Carson Fox hails from Oxford, Mississippi, which is also the hometown of famed writer William Faulkner. Her work expresses influences steeped, in part, from growing up in the American deep south. The series being discussed here is drawn from that gothic tradition. The images are microcosms of sensory experience, and their under-the-glass tondo presentation isolates the individual strains of abnormalcy; the thing that makes them bad girls that continue to submit to these curious experiments of pain.  

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