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Alex Foxton, "Cain and Abel," 2023

Alex Foxton’s “Swoon” Extracts Light From Darkness at Galerie Derouillon

The painter capsizes deep-rooted notions of masculinity by illuminating the intricate nuances of Western culture’s heroes and characters.

Erica Silverman

11 January 2024

This Winter, Galerie Derouillon Presents Alex Foxton’s “Swoon” Paintings in Paris 

On January 4 in Paris, Galerie Derouillon unveiled the latest exhibition by artist Alex Foxton, titled “Swoon,” on view through February 24. Born in England and based in Paris, the ever-inspired painter capsizes deep-rooted notions of masculinity by bringing to light the intricate nuances of Western culture’s prominent heroes and fantastical characters. 

In seductive tones of violet, teal, crimson, cobalt, and rose, dynamic paintings of ravishing figures in spirited moments of meditation, calculation, lust, and suffering unfold. Titles including Cain and Abel (2023), Apollo and Marsyas (Ribera) (2023), and Conspiracy (2023) are poignant works that intermesh oil and glitter on canvas, conjuring the powerful memories, dreams, and nightmares of a collective history. 

Alex Foxton,

Alex Foxton, “Nemi,” 2023, 51 1/8 x 38 1/4 in., oil on canvas; photo by Grégory Copitet, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris.

A Rhapsodic Narrative Imparts an Enduring Opera of Security and Peril in Our World

As visitors journey through potent imagery of young sailors, soldiers, and fair Apollo—the storied god of light, poetry, and prophecy—a rhapsodic narrative imparts an enduring opera of security and peril in our world. With bold homages to two legendary artworks, Titian’s Flaying of Marsyas (1550-1570) and Ribera’s Apollo and Marsyas (1637), in which the audacious satyr Marsyas challenges Apollo to a musical contest and is consequently skinned alive, Foxton deftly juxtaposes golden, euphoric youth with the cruel distortions and bewilderment of old age. 

In an effort to “paint all the cruelty in the world,” the artist allows the yin and yang of the iconic scene—and of our universe—to play out in disparate hues, fragmented bodies, and split canvases. 

Installation view of Alex Foxton's

Installation view of Alex Foxton’s “Swoon,” photo by Grégory Copitet, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris.

Alex Foxton Advocates for the Potential of Vast Righteousness 

Restorative imagery of the fable Cain and Abel, alongside blossoming, masculine figures thrust into uniform and warfare, presents a compelling dialogue on the weaponizing of the innocent to nourish hideous violence. Simultaneously, the youth of Foxton’s artworks appear to rise out from abstract shards of chaos in ethereal flashes of exhilaration and hopefulness. 

Sailor (2023), a fractured sculpture of plaster, mortar, steel, chicken wire, varnish, pigment, and glitter, rests on the gallery floor in a sharp suggestion of rival forces which are intrinsically coupled, as well as the enduring potential of vast righteousness and stunning acts of heroism. 

Alex Foxton,

Alex Foxton, “Apollo,” 2023, 20 1/4 x 17 1/8 in., oil on canvas; photo by Grégory Copitet, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris.

Installation view of Alex Foxton's

Installation view of Alex Foxton’s “Swoon,” photo by Grégory Copitet, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris.

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Kelly Wearstler

THE WINTER EXPERIENCE ISSUE
2023

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Whitewall's Winter 2024 cover story spotlights the artist just as his time with the L’Académie des Beaux-Arts Residency was wrapping up.
Whitewall takes you to the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2024 men's fashion show in Paris, Pharrell Williams's first show for the brand.
Whitewall spoke with Alain Ducasse and Daniel Humm about collaborating on a plant-based menu that appears in New York and Paris over 8 days.

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Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
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