Norbert Kox (1945 - 2018) painted as an act of prayer as much as an act of creation. He first learned to paint while in the US Army at the age of 17 in then-occupied Munich. When out of the service he repaired motorcycles and custom cars to earn his living, but struggled with alcoholism and drug use. After a bad drug trip at 30, he went sober and committed himself to life as a hermit living in the woods around Suring, WI. For ten years he lived simply, opening himself to listen to God as well as building a chapel and a “way-of-the-cross” culminating in a grotesque, crusified Christ at his hermitage.
In 1985, he attended the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and began painting full time. His lurid paintings, disturbing and apocalyptic, challenge conventional religious attitudes toward idolatry, piety, and interpretation of scripture. His artworks pulsate with apocalyptic anxieties, and injected into the work are biblical verses. Much of the subject matter of Kox’s work comes from his own biblical exegesis in which he examines, expounds, and looks for “symmetries” — verses that when spelled backwards in Hebrew or Greek reveal coded meanings.
Kox has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe and was represented by Portrait Society Gallery at the 2020 Outsider Art Fair in New York.