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Adult Activity Inspired by Mark Fox's Untitled (Fault), 2008

Mark Fox is best known for his iconic, large-scale paper constructions made up of hundreds of small drawings. While many artists fixate on the idea of reducing and simplifying the chaos of the world around us, Fox instead garners inspiration from it. Throughout his process, he explores the element of chance and the strange narratives that can emerge from a random juxtaposition of images.

Initially, he became interested in the ancillary marks from painting that accumulated on the paper around his studio. Fox began to cut these out in order to “free them from their context.” Untitled (Fault), 2008, hails from a series in which the artist interspersed found imagery with blots of ink, incidental markings, and snippets of text taken from personal items. It features text from various sacred scripts the artist copied by hand and then cut apart. Each individual piece or section is pinned to the wall, and together they create a delicate, hovering sculpture.

In this activity for adults, we'll walk you through how to use smaller works to make a large paper sculpture inspired by Fox's Untitled (Fault).

Untitled (Fault)

Mark Fox (American, born 1963). Untitled (Fault), 2008. Ink on paper, linen tape, and metal pins, 50 x 131 x 11 inches (127 x 332.7 x 27.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Elisabeth H. Gates, James G. Forsyth and Edmund Hayes Funds, 2009 (2009:14). © 2008 Mark Fox.

Getting Started

  • What is the first thing you notice about this work of art? Does it remind you of anything?
  • Take note of the shadow that is created on the wall along this work. Do you think it adds to the piece?
  • What if the work was flat against the wall? Would it look/feel the same to you?
  • What if the work was not black and white? Would it have the same effect? Why or why not?

Materials

  • Cardboard (cut into a square)
  • Pushpins (If available)
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Mark-making tools (markers, colored pencils, pens, etc.)
  • Scissors
  • Large sheet of paper (any kind, but a tad thicker would be beneficial) or a bunch of smaller pieces
  • Wine (or any drink of choice)

Artmaking Activity

1. Begin with a large sheet of paper and write or draw anything that comes to mind with a pen or marker. (If you don’t have large sheets at home, a bunch of smaller pieces would work as well.) Perhaps during this stressful period, you can journal your current thoughts, worries, and feelings onto the page. You can choose to only use the color black, or any color that inspires you at the moment.

2. Next, begin to cut out around your images and/or words. You can cut directly around the marks or cut out random shapes from the paper. Make sure that these pieces are smaller than your piece of cardboard.

3. After you finish cutting, prepare your cardboard. You can tape or glue a white piece of paper to it, color it in, or leave it as is. Artist's choice.

4. Design your cut pieces into an organic shape. Lay the design next to your piece of cardboard. If it is helpful, draw a line onto your cardboard in the direction you want your shape to flow.

5. Using any type of pushpin that you have, begin to adhere your organic shapes to the cardboard, making sure to leave some space between the base and your cut-out shapes so that they leave a slight shadow. If you don’t have pushpins, you can use glue to adhere your pieces to the base. So that the pieces still give a shadow, only glue down the edges of the cut-out pieces to create space. The closer you glue the edges together, the higher the center can be raised up (see photos below). Try gluing the edges down in various directions to see how the pieces create space. (Tape could also work for this step.)

6. When you are finished, lean your new work against the wall and use a flashlight or a lamp to see the shadows it creates.

Optional: Share your creation on Twitter or Instagram with #AKBeyondWalls and #MuseumFromHome!

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