Llyn Foulkes: Bloody Heads

October 27 – December 12, 2011


Kent Fine Art's upcoming exhibition Llyn Foulkes: Bloddy Heads will be the first show of new paintings by Foulkes in New York since 2007, and an in-depth look at his personal collection of "bloody heads" completed over the past decade. While his previous exhibitions of 2005 and 2007 focused on single emblematic tableaus (The Lost Frontierand Deliverance), the current exhibition will present an intimate and introspective group of works from his Los Angeles studio.

Beginning in the early seventies, Foulkes turned up the volume of Baconian horror in his first series of portrait heads, keenly described by Rosetta Brooks in the catalogue for his traveling retrospective organized by the Laguna Art Museum in 1995:

Contemporary life is full of all kinds of monsters which many of us either ignore or conceal. Foulkes does neither. His art is constantly grappling with the social schizophrenia characteristic of America, including its inherent violence and its quiet vulnerability.

A pioneer of the L.A. Hot and Cool scene of the sixties (along with John Baldessari, Wallace Berman, Chris Burden, George Herms, Edward Kienholz, Bruce Nauman, Kenneth Price, and others), Foulkes has continued to be an innovator. His breakthrough tableau work Pop (1986-1990) was exhibited at Kent in 1990 and is now in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Pop, along with a group of subsequent paintings selected by Paul Schimmel for his seminal "Helter Skelter" exhibition of 1992, propelled Foulkes to new territory in his art-making, as well as new levels of national recognition. Foulkes's energy, his commitment to continual advancement of painterly possibilities, and his obsessive-compulsive working method have lead him to a "post-Pop" period in which he continues to expand and develop his vision.

Foulkes was featured in the 2009 exhibition "Nine Lives" at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and he will be the subject of a major retrospective at the Hammer currently being organized by Ali Subotnick. As Subotnick wrote in the catalogue for "Nine Lives":

Llyn Foulkes has been exposing the hypocrisies and absurdities of American life since the 1960s, and his influence is vast and unquantifiable. From early constructions like the seminal charred blackboard and chair... to his epic rock landscape paintings and his "bloody heads" and construction paintings, he continually challenges his audience and himself... At seventy-four he's still kicking and screaming.


"Llyn Foulkes in the Studio with Ross Simonini"

Art in America | October 2011