Los Angeles

Llyn Foulkes

Rolf Nelson Gallery

This young artist is engaged in continu­ously repeating, varying, and refining the environment of graphic and dia­grammatic memorabilia which proved so convincingly abundant in his last one-man show at the Pasadena Art Mu­seum. Foulkes is gradually simplifying­—even classicizing—his compulsive and formerly claustrophobic nostalgia. He seems as well to share the scientific curiosity of a Leonardo with Ernst’s nightmare romanticism. From this fertile ground have sprung his enlarged, hand­made “photographs” of hallucinations (dark silhouettes of body parts, animals, and mountains) which are rendered through the controlled accidents of de­calcomania. This technical innovation is aptly suited to an intense vision and a delicate sense of scale. These highly detailed but amorphic textural shapes dissolve into ambiguous correspon­dences: ragged striations become crys­tal line stratifications, dimpled hills recall dappled hide, and mopped stains resemble porous membrane. He is a past master of the purple patch—an ob­sessive and precise passage of fully modeled mystery.

While an enormous, untitled (“three leg”) painting weds most successfully the formal, symbolic, and anatomical, the familiar theme of visionary land­scapes more truly reflect the artist’s substantial growth. The scenes resemble a leaden no-man’s land, a recent war zone blasted to a bald and sensuous neutrality, and recur in various formats: random album pages of ashen memen­tos, funereal postcards “dedicated to the American” (American what—dream?) and most recently, sequential registers of soft, tinted mirages bounded by hard edge, off-set bars and warning stripes. A rusted sepia, double image stereo­graph of an unfurling “Mt. Hood, Ore­gon,” only a single example, is as majestically handsome and equivocably memorable as it is magical and poetic. We can only applaud.

Fidel A. Danieli