Llyn Foulkes – Old Man Blues

Llyn Foulkes – Old Man Blues

The plaintive title of Llyn Foulkes’ current exhibition – his first for Sprüth Magers – suggests we might be in for some mournful, if not downright bitter, riffs on laboriously trodden themes. This is not necessarily a drastic departure from the surreal dissonance of the visionary yet always personally and politically charged tableaux and talismans that have been at the center of his work for most of his career. But here, the suggestion of the battered souvenir, omnipresent in his work, always filtered through regret and disillusionment, is accompanied by a sense of displacement and foreshadowing that bleeds into the suggestion of a kind of virtual absence. In the Foulkes canon, the future is always viewed through a rear window of anticipated corruption or disintegration – consider the petrified-looking bark fragment framed in the window of a pockmarked car door of Vasquez II (2016). In turn, the castaway may become a kind of grail (e.g., Untitled (“Dinghy”) 2016). Always the most feral of the Ferus alumni, Foulkes can scarcely conceal his disgust with a civilization clearly ‘heading south’; but still at the height of his powers, he is far from ‘throwing in the towel’ (belying the work bearing this title). In his Old Man Blues, Foulkes nevertheless makes emphatic the sense of broken connection, alienation or incongruous isolation. In the cold, broken universe of Night Train (2016), we are all lost refugee children (or their ghosts) seeking a dubious virtual asylum. As always, the frame – whether a wood panel, a black velvet border, or the craggy desert moutainscape of Agua Dulce – is crucially important (even when traversed or violated), underscoring that amid interior oceans of morbid denial, some things will not be denied.

Sprüth Magers
5900 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Show runs thru March 4, 2017