Every painter of monochromes comes to the form by his or her own
Gazing from the crow’s nest of a ship, silent and alone, great novelists like Herman Melville or Joseph Conrad had nothing to see but the sea. Their solitary meditations, undistracted by any stimulus, eventually welled up and burst open as stories so thorough and considered that they contained whole worlds. The reclusive painter Henry Codax does likewise. Alone, cruising the canvas with his hand, he reflects the contemporary world using the dexterity of an old master.
Codax is a painter of tradition, a connoisseur of brushes and pigments and canvas. Like a man at sea, he has stored up his thoughts and experiences and has long cultivated his artistic faculties. In his new works, Codax’s eye translates his daily hermetic life into broad expanses of unadulterated chroma: his teacup and saucer at 3 pm as the white and pale grey of two large squares; his longing for someone’s lithe body clad in chartreuse at the deli; the cyan breadth of the sky made as a vertiginous rectangle; red wrappers on glass bottles collected by a garbage-picker in the street outside his window.
As he watches our world, Henry Codax makes it singular, tangible, but unfixed. His paintings are refuges, snapshots of pure experience lifted from workaday living and made transcendent. Consider that, the next time you glance at the body of the person you desire, at the sky. How would you make that feeling into a plane seven feet tall that a soul would want to live in?
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