The Trust will also maintains and conserves and also authorises reproduction/exhibitions etc of the care of the collection of art works of Stephen B. Cox. These consist of Paintings; Watercolours; Sculptures, and Reliefs.
From the age of 17 onwards his art was already deeply imbued with the power of Nature, the heritage of trees, and spirit of place and numinosity of certain landscapes. Joy, wonder and celebration were never far from his approach to Nature in his art at this time. The magickal insight or revelation of the given moment of a particular view or perspective, or hidden aspect or corner of the rural vista combined with a haunting timelessless. His landscape paintings were like a series of secret gardens intuitively discovered. His paintings expressed a sculptural timelessness and person-like quality to the trees in particular - sculpturally defined like ancient creatures, waiting in the landacape for humans to once again know their language and bring them to life. Yet to him they were friends, and hauntingly sang to him. His teenage poetry expressed this aspect. Weekly (and daily during school & colleges holidays) he would spend upwards of 7 hours a day walking his native South Cotswold hills sketching the landscape and writing poetry. Looking back on those times now he can more readily appreciate the Celtic presentiment of spirit of place and of nymphs and anthropomorphic awareness.
The final period at University (Reading University School of Art) saw a gradual return of this monumentality combined with a deep fascination for the rhythms and interwining of order and disorder: the theme of thesis- antithesis-synthesis more and more entered his work and philosophical approach to life.
He spent many years as a professional painter and sculptor holding one-man exhibitions of his work in museums, theatres, art galleries, arts centres etc all across Britain (and sometimes abroad). And he created study placements for young unemployed people. He always tried to interact dynamically and sympathetically with local people visiting his exhibitions and was also willing to take student parties around. He was also involved in the promotion of the arts in local government and in the health and theatre and business sectors, and founded and helped run artists groups.
In this period (1972-1992) he also spent time travelling to and researching particular landscapes (Snowdonia, Dorset, the Somerset coast, Shropshire) and prehistoric sites, and would often camp out nearby to develop a deeper understanding of and respect for them. Of particular interest at this time was the Avebury Cylce of prehistoric monuments (commencing circa 3,500 bce) in Wiltshire, England: West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill, The Sanctuary, Windmill Hill, The Ridgeway, and Avebury Henge. And then began writing about them and their religious and ethical and spiritual significance for living today.
He exhibited widely in one man shows across England (and also to Wales and Scotland), averaging two or three shows a year, Although he showed in art galleries, he was keen to exhibit in places which were part of local life such as theatres, art centres, colleges, etc. He would often travel with a team of assistants: some being students and some friends.
Between 1983 and 1992 he worked full time from a large art studio he created and established and rented from a 12,000 acre traditional English farming estate in the Thames Valley. His art in the last years to 1992 was intensely concerned with prehistoric sites, the cycles of the ancient and modern farming year and the rhythm of life, and various aspects of the Quarternary (the Four Seasons and the Four Elements) and Alchemy.
It was in 1992 that he also started what was to become a regular series (approx. 2 or 3 a year) of expeditions to Dartmoor. In the 12 years prior to that he had explored the south coast of England ("Hardy Country") from Studland Bay to Lyme Regis in intimate detail.
The landscape also returned to his art in three very unusual and distinctive ways:
i) miniature paintings (3cms x 1.5 cms) set within a larger canvas of seasonal oriented mosaic;
ii) small and large sculptures built almost like totemistic temples using the raw materials of the land (tree trunks, stone) and the farming year (feedstuffs, harvest, dung, straw etc); some being room size;
iii) and large (3m x2m x 0.5 m) wall hanging 3-d paintings like temple doorways.
He finally had to postpone his art in favour of his dedication to heritage and for personal reasons.. He says, that perhaps he would one day like to return to it in his retirement ( "whatever that means for a man like me!") when suitable succesors have been for the organisation. His last public one-man exhibition was in1992 in Oxford. when suitable succesors have been for the organisation. His last public one-man exhibition was in1992 in Oxford.
In that context he has however taken up Photography (commencing 2009), which is a step towards the artistic recommencement which his friends have urged.
The vast bulk of the Collection is stored at his home. Some are on display, which private visitors/friends/students may occassionally obtain a narration/tour. A small number of works are in private collections.
If you are interested in organising an exhibition of these art works or reproduction of them please contact the Trust.