Ray Fox 


Exhibition Text

Adorning the midsummer plywood walls of Between Pheasants Contemporary is a solo exhibition of charcoal drawings by Ray Fox. Titled Unearthing, the exhibition is a literal unearthing of personal and cultural histories – of grounding his body and his work in the land. The drawings, made using materials Fox gathered from the North Shore of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior, are renderings of archival images from Residential Schools his family attended on the North Channel. These drawings are not figurative studies, more importantly they are reminders of the spectres of settler colonialism that continue to haunt. 

For Fox, the artistic and cultural task of “unearthing” is woven in and out of his artistic and personal spheres. Fox uses pottery shards floating within each piece as portals to connect to his ancestors; though shattered, the pottery shards, which were excavated from various sites on the north shore of the St. Mary’s River, are vessels transmitting an indelible resurgence. The focus on the pottery shards operate not only metaphorically, but as real retrievals unearthing histories that have been buried under stolen land; histories that continue to reside in the body; as happenings that have come to life and emerge from the rift of the temporal past grounded into present and future ways of being. With a deep understanding of the importance of reclaiming and preserving traditional ceremonies and medicines, Fox shares hints of his teachings from Anishinaabe ceremony and traditional medicine making – both of which were illegal to practice in Canada until the 1950s. Ultimately, Unearthing is an exhibition that weaves together the past and present to illuminate the beauty and resilience of Anishinaabe people.

Artist Bio

Northern Ontario based Anishinaabe Visual Artist, Ray Fox, works with a variety of themes in his practice such as memory, cultural and geographic identity, relationship to land, animals, and plant life. He started drawing as a child, raised within a family of many other Manitoulin Island-based Visual Artists. He studied Drawing and Painting at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario. Since moving back to Northern Ontario, he has been mainly producing work with graphite and charcoal drawings, as well as painting. 

Between Pheasants Contemporary would like to publicly acknowledge and thank the Ontario Art Council’s support through the Northern Arts Project grant to make this exhibition possible.

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