Old Man Blues
January 20–March 4, 2017
Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are delighted to present the gallery’s first exhibition featuring the work of the celebrated Los Angeles–based artist and musician Llyn Foulkes. Revered as much for his iconic imagery as for his irascible iconoclasm, for nearly six decades Foulkes has produced paintings, assemblages, and collages that have explored the darker corners of the American psyche, while also conveying a sense of hopefulness and possibility through his manipulations of everyday materials into richly layered works of art.
Never content with any one medium, technique, or approach, Foulkes has continually bucked art world trends to produce a resolutely singular body of work over the course of his multifaceted career. His somber assemblages of the late 1950s and early 1960s—inspired, in part, by his travels through Germany in the aftermath of World War II—received early attention from influential postwar venues such as the Ferus Gallery, the Pasadena Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and his Pop-oriented paintings of the 1960s earned him exhibitions, sales, and accolades, including the first-place prize in painting at the 1967 Paris Biennial. In the early 1970s he soon shifted his work towards probing, collage-infused paintings featuring altered photographic portraits, desolate landscapes, and “bloody heads” that would become the mainstay of his practice, but at the time ran entirely counter to the art world’s focus on minimalism and conceptualism. Though it would take many years for this new work to receive sustained critical attention and acclaim, Foulkes continued to produce it unabated, expanding the scale of his painting-constructions to wall-sized proportions, always intent on using his work to expose the triumphs and failures of his contemporary socio-political moment.