JAIK FAULK // "I feel alright with azaleas around"
On view November 16–December 31, 2016
Opening reception Thursday, November 17 (6–8PM)
The south has always conjured unusual visions in comparison to America’s other regions. Across its varied states, the well-trod facade of simple conviviality and folksy kitsch is routinely complicated by the mutterings of a both haunted and unstable psycho-geographical landscape. These oppositions are most vividly encountered within the bayou—a region whose history is a mesmerizing wildness of creole ingenuity and tenacious solidarity on the often-isolated and harsh outskirts of the country. As an artist within such a community—that of Lafayette, LA—Jaik Faulk likewise situates his practice as one of improvisation and modesty. The perimeters from which he operates inscribe his work with an outsider vantage that, coupled with his fine arts background, leads to a playful questioning of aesthetic gestures.
Faulk’s latest solo exhibition at Nationale, "I feel alright with azaleas around", investigates the impossibility of true realism within painting’s still life tradition. While landscapes are hindered by the horizon line and portraiture complicated by the gaze, the still life, in its slippery divide between the actuality of the subject and the subjective rendering, allows for infinite abstraction. Faulk’s paintings in this manner do not encourage easy interpretation. Forms emerge—a flower, a skull, a Halloween mask—but his thick application of paint creates a foggy layering wherein telling outlines fade just as quickly as they emerge. His subject matter sinks into the canvas like photographs faded by the sun, their realness a distant memory. This melancholic quality speaks as well to the still life’s vanitas subgenre and is further emphasized through Faulk’s gothic palette of inky violets, blues, and greys and jarring pops of fuchsia and green. The effect is both joyous and somber. While still firmly engaged within art historical tradition, Faulk’s work ultimately showcases a pride in creating something from nothing that is decidedly, and unabashedly, southern.
(For as the swamps rise, the pink azaleas continue to bloom...)
Jaik Faulk is a painter from, and currently based, in Acadiana. It is a small community in South Louisiana that is the home and hub of Cajun and Creole culture in the world. He received his MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2013 and his BA in Art from Portland State University in 2006. He's had solo exhibitions in Portland, OR, at Nationale, FalseFront, and Launch Pad. Faulk’s work has also been included in group shows at The Lab, the San Francisco Art Institute, and The Old Mint, all in San Francisco, Littman Gallery in Portland, OR, and Gallery 549 in Lafayette, LA. He joined Nationale in the spring of 2011.
INTERVIEW with Gabi Lewton-Leopold
REVIEW by Paul Maziar