Llyn Foulkes: Rocks, Postcards, and more

New Museum
Aug 6, 2013 8:42PM

Soon after his show at Pasadena Art Museum (September 18–October 24, 1962), Foulkes experimented with his own Pop phase and began making more traditional paintings on canvas (he hadn’t painted on canvas since art school), inspired by old postcards and the American West—a landscape that he had been in awe of since his childhood. The images of rocky landscapes that appeared in earlier works now took center stage. These new paintings were produced with his now signature rag technique—employing a rag, he adds and subtracts paint to achieve a surface resembling worn denim or human flesh that was used to replicate the craggy texture of rock. This marks a (relatively) Pop period, with nostalgic paintings celebrating the American landscape and the open road. The serial imagery in Geography Lesson (1960–61) and Return Here (1959) resurfaced in several 1963 paintings that feature double images of the same rock, inspired by stereoscope slides.

Foulkes’s career gained further momentum in the mid-1960s. In 1965, he started teaching at UCLA, and in 1967, he received the First Award for Painting at the fifth Paris Biennial as well as represented the United States in the ninth São Paulo Biennial. While his 1969 show at David Stuart Galleries in Los Angeles featured monumental rock paintings—including Portrait of Leo Gorcey and Sleeping Rock (both 1969)—rendered in washy monochromes of pink, light blue, acid green, and lavender. He turned his studio into a one-man painting factory, finishing them all during his three-month summer break from teaching.

"LLYN FOULKES" is on view through September 1.

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

New Museum