JAIK FAULK // hello darlin'
On view July 13 - September 2, 2012
Opening reception for the artist Friday, July 13, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
The fiery Sissy meets Bud, a handsome Texas boy, one night at the local honky-tonk- “You a real cowboy?” she asks. “Well that depends,” Bud replies, “on what you think a real cowboy is.”
The symbolic pull of worn Levi’s, riding boots, and a wide-brimmed Stetson extends well beyond the dramatic affairs of Urban Cowboy (1980). Cowboy attire is well-engrained within the American psyche as an emblem of rugged masculinity, fierce independence, and unfettered sexuality. Sissy only had to take one look at Bud’s get-up to fall head-over-heels. A real cowboy or not, Bud dressed the part.
In Hello Darlin’, his second solo painting exhibition at Nationale, Southern-bred Jaik Faulk explores how the cowboy mystique has been appropriated over the years into a fashionable form of self-expression. Despite the guises’ impracticality off the range, many continue to adapt the utilitarian look, dashed with such arbitrary flourishes as pheasant feathers and skulls, as a way to project its synonymous Marlboro Man identity amongst society.
From dandified musicians to baby-faced ranch hands, Faulk’s protagonists represent a range of cowboy styles, all the while exuding a shared veneer of practiced stoicism and enticing nonchalance. Faulk further delineates this heroic posturing via angular brushstrokes, enigmatic smears, and a dusty palette that gracefully evokes the colors of the western frontier. This highly visceral aesthetic not only intensifies his cowboys’ tough personas, but also references the similarly hyper-masculine archetype developed by such Abstract Expressionist painters as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. For, raised in the oil rich town of Lafayette, Louisiana, Faulk’s skillful mingling of Western art history and Western cowboy culture reveals more than a passing anthropological interest- his portraits ultimately reflect his own tenuous negotiations with the gendered conventions of both his Southern past and his artistic future.
A native of Acadiana in southern Louisiana, Jaik Faulk currently lives and works in San Francisco, California where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at SFAI. Faulk's work was previously shown in Portland, Oregon at Nationale, FalseFront, and Portland Art Center. Jaik Faulk is represented by Nationale.
Review by Patrick Collier for Oregon ArtsWatch
Review by John Motley for The Oregonian
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