Opening Reception Saturday May 13, 6-8pm
Various Small Fires is honored to present the debut West Coast solo exhibition of Paris-based artist Alex Foxton. Trade features new paintings and works on paper that draw the English-born artist’s investigation of cultural symbolism and masculinity into a more intimate, personal realm.
In Trade, Foxton follows his interest in archetypal templates to mine the personal. His paintings depict his boyfriend, marking the first time the artist has portrayed his loved ones in a body of work. In Seán as Soldier, his partner dons military garb, referencing their careers in fashion as well as London’s gay history of palace guards, sailors, and soldiers as call boys, known as trade; or straight-identifying men who casually partner with gay men. Queer history and the artist’s own life fold into one on the canvas, allowing Foxton to suspend a layer of theatricality in these otherwise deeply personal paintings.
Foxton offers another mode of intimacy through a clear emphasis on drawing. “Drawing is where you really see somebody's character,” states the artist, expressing an affinity for traces of past marks that can be found in a drawing. In addition to numerous charcoal works on paper pinned into the gallery walls, large-scale canvases highlight Foxton’s adept linework. The blaring red lasers of an underground nightclub in London's Soho District inspire his figures outlined in a glowing cadmium red. Richly layered backgrounds of viridian green and Prussian blue partially obscure previously drawn elements, subtly revealing Foxton’s hand with close inspection. The vivid compositions offer a slap to the face of what Foxton refers to as “violent tenderness.”
The artist uses archetypes to explore their wider relevance to society and cultural influence. The work in Trade, however, offers Foxton the opportunity to reflect on their impact on his private relationships and, ultimately, how they inform his own self-vision and practice.
Alex Foxton (b. 1980, lives and works in Paris, France) graduated with a Masters Degree from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK. Foxton has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Derouillon in Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium; and Air Project Art Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland. Recent group exhibitions include Sprüth Magers; Galerie Perrotin, Paris; Galerie Perrotin, Paris; and Galerie Derouillon, Paris. His work is in the public collections at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Florida.