Llyn Foulkes: Paintings and Constructions

New Museum
Aug 6, 2013 8:34PM

In 1961, Thomas Leavitt, the director of the Pasadena Art Museum, invited Foulkes to present an exhibition of new work. The following year, Walter Hopps joined the museum as a curator and began working on his Pop art show, “New Painting of Common Objects.” Foulkes’s solo exhibition ran concurrently with Hopps’s, and the contrast between the two was strikingly blunt. Foulkes’s exhibition, informed by his US military service in Germany in the mid-1950s, demonstrated his reflections on the atrocities of the war and its aftermath. Memories of charred cities and devastated landscapes colored the pieces, with paintings incorporating tar, burned newspaper, scorched wood, dead animals, and thickly built-up textures that imparted a worn, almost tortured patina to the work.

From a young age, Foulkes has been fascinated with death that is aged or patinated—he was more interested in mummies than in blood and guts. The process of painting and constructing these works has always been an essential part of his practice, as he continually creates and destroys—in itself a path to discovery. Foulkes was initially driven to using derelict materials out of necessity (reusing discarded scraps to make his paintings); however, these objects also provided a layer of rawness that has continued to color his work. All the works hanging on the walls in this gallery were included in that exhibition.

"LLYN FOULKES" is open through September 1. 

Images: Installation views, "LLYN FOULKES" at New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum