mary alexis fox

Mary Fox, wife and mother of three, is a Chicago-based artist who has been working exclusively with ceramics for the past 13 yrs. She creates her work at Lill Street Studios, a community-focused art center. Mary has been involved in art in one form or another her whole life.

As a child she was introduced to art by her mother, a painter and art appreciator.

After receiving her BA in International Relations from Purdue University and her MA in International Relations and Comparative Government from New York University, Mary moved to Chicago where she became a political activist. She began working for the federal government in Chicago doing top-secret clearances in 1965. From 1966 to 1968, she worked for the Department of Justice as a poll watcher in Mississippi ensuring the rights of African-Americans to vote. After 1968, she went to work for the Office of Economic Opportunity where she supervised community action agencies in southern Illinois. She did this until 1971-1972, when Nixon dismantled the OEO. During this time she continued to explore her interest in art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Once her first child was born, Mary left government employment and devoted herself to her family and art as her form of expression. She has explored several different mediums including paint, sculpture, photography and design, but has proved most prolific in the clay medium. Her ceramic work is greatly influenced by the art and architecture of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She has studied the artwork of and has traveled to China, Thailand and Egypt to inform her work.

She particularly draws on the form and line found in Asian art. Her lanterns are inspired by the windows in the temple at Karnack. The artist-created stamps Mary employs in her work are inspired by Japanese and Chinese characters, Egyptian hieroglyphs, hobo symbols, Native American writing and any pictorially based script. She has combined the different symbolic languages along with creations of her own to represent different ideas and themes.

Mary’s work is typically stoneware. She combines different glazes and firing techniques to manipulate the coloration and texture of her surfaces. Mary designs her work to be functional as well as decorative. To this end, all of her work is oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe.

Mary has had a Union Pier, Michigan, residence since 1978. Her wish is for more time to pursue her craft.

Mary is currently represented by Studio b. Gallery.

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