Alex Foxton at Galerie Derouillon

Artist: Alex Foxton

Exhibition title: Ultra-Marine

Venue: Galerie Derouillon, Paris, France

Date: May 17 – June 15, 2019

Photography: Grégory Copitet / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris

And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them

Suzanne, Leonard Cohen (1967)

British artist Alex Foxton presents his first solo exhibition at Galerie Derouillon, with a new series of paintings entitled ‘Ultra-Marine’. Continuing an exploration of the male figure, a historical narrative unfolds – solidifying his lyrical vision by considering archetypes of bygone masculinity from the opulence of aristocracy to the plight of the mariner lost at sea. In tricorns and military regalia, abstract depictions of the French emperor Napoleon and British naval hero Lord Horatio Nelson punctuate the series against passive, dream-like portraits of solitary male figures enveloped in planes of flat colour.

Virile symbolism abounds as Foxton manipulates the morphology of the male form, accentuating the waist and shoulders whilst the jawline disappears into each brightly-coloured neck. The skin of their hands, limbs and facial features are rendered in soft shadows on untreated canvas throughout. A play of hot and cold pink tones appears almost solarised against the natural palette of ultramarine, midnight blue and ochre, as the subtle details of epaulettes, medals, earrings and passementerie are scratched and highlighted as delicate amulets. Employing notions of chiaroscuro, ideas of positive and negative space are blurred as both garments and backgrounds mimic ocean blues in swathes of textural impasto and blocks of solid colour, reprising notions of the sea as a symbol of the human subconscious.

-Dan Thawley

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Fletcher, 2019, Oil on canvas, 130 x 81 cm (51,18 x 31,89 inch)

Alex Foxton, Christian, 2019, Oil on canvas, 130 x 81 cm (51,18 x 31,89 inch)

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Marine II (Sleep), 2019, Oil on canvas, 130 x 81 cm (51,18 x 31,89 inch)

Alex Foxton, Marine III (Seán), 2019, Oil on canvas, 130 x 81 cm (51,18 x 31,89 inch)

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Marine I (Hands), 2019, Oil on canvas, 130 x 81 cm (51,18 x 31,89 inch)

Alex Foxton, The Flood, 2019, Oil on canvas, 130 x 81 cm (51,18 x 31,89 inch)

Alex Foxton, Nelson, 2019, Oil on canvas, 130 x 81 cm (51,18 x 31,89 inch)

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Napoleon, 2019, Oil on canvas, 33 x 46 cm (13 x 18,11 inch)

Alex Foxton, Horatio, 2019, Oil on canvas, 33 x 41 cm (13 x 16,14 inch)

Alex Foxton, Quarrel, 2019, Oil on canvas, 33 x 41 cm (13 x 16,14 inch)

Alex Foxton, Marine, 2019, Oil on canvas, 35 x 53 cm (13,78 x 20,86 inch)

Alex Foxton, The Flood (II), 2019, Oil on canvas, 38 x 55 cm (14,96 x 21,65 inch)

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, Oil on canvas, 200 x 170 cm (78,74 x 66,92 inch)

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

Alex Foxton, Ultra-Marine, 2019, exhibition view, Galerie Derouillon, Paris

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