JAIK FAULK // Theoretical Place

On view August 3–August 27, 2019
Opening reception Sunday, August 4 (3–5 p.m.)

We used to get lost in painted illusions. Small paintings in ornate frames—landscapes, portraits, still lifes—were piled high in European salons. It didn’t matter that they were hung nearly on top of one another because their thick frames contained entire worlds. Modernist artists shook these traditions off by abandoning illusionism and creating their own abstract visual language that did not rely on standard conventions. Letting go of narrative and the rules of perspective, they looked to material, paint on canvas, to explore theories and ideas. Theoretical Place, Jaik Faulk’s sixth solo exhibition at Nationale, is a rumination on this history, and an invitation for the viewer and maker to share a subjective visual space. 

Shades of matte black cover the canvas in Cosmic Influencer. Thick dabs of shiny colorful patches peppered throughout the painting create a visual conversation between varying shades and textures. Although the largest work in the exhibition, Cosmic Influencer stands tall at a modest 20 inches. For Faulk, constraints of size, material, and palette, present an opportunity for deep experimentation in the studio. With its colorful peaks and valleys set against a white background, Zig Zag Mountain like Cosmic Influencer, conjures many interpretations. While both works expose our tendency to seek narrative even in the most abstract images, they also invite us to see them for exactly what they are: marks made in paint on a flat surface. 

The road to abstraction has been a meandering one for Faulk. In previous bodies of work he often painted from life or from photographs. These references became paintings that blended figurative and abstract elements. For this new series, the desire to paint scenes has shifted to a desire to paint ideas. This more inward approach took Faulk to old studio sketches, invented patterning, and unfinished paintings as reference material for manifesting ideas visually. Faulk recognizes this change in studio practice as connected to his work as a teacher and curator. “In my daily grind I am tasked with creating visual proximities to work, thinking through encounters with art, and being playful with how I think about bodies of work. This translates to a sense of being less literal in my painting practice. It frees me up, I can distance myself from the trap of being perfectly understood.”

Jaik Faulk is a native of Lafayette, LA, where he currently works and lives. 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 has been the focus of several solo exhibitions at Nationale, as well as other Portland galleries including FalseFront and Launch Pad. Faulk’s work has also been included in group shows at such establishments as 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 is currently the Visual Arts Director at Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, LA. Faulks joined Nationale as a represented artist in the spring of 2011.

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