Body of Work

Liz Foulks, pictured with some of her commissioned portrait work

Liz Foulks, pictured with some of her commissioned portrait work (Photo provided)

In departure, guest artist will exhibit at Buster Levi

The linear space at the Buster Levi Gallery in Cold Spring will soon be divided by six 3-feet-by-4-feet panels, adjacent to each other and meeting in a corner, as part of a show by painter Liz Foulks that opens Feb. 4. 

“It helps with the depth,” she explains. “These panels will be a large and prominent part of the exhibition, plus there will be vertical, narrow paintings. There will also be a few small pieces, providing contrast, particularly in color.”

The exhibit will open at the Main Street gallery with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. and continue through Feb. 26.

Foulks considers the panel paintings a “new investigation” into a theme she explored in an earlier show at the Ildiko Butler Gallery in Manhattan when she shared a series of charcoal drawings based on variations of the human figure, “mostly sourced from classical sculptures and the emotional tenor of Romanticism,” she says. 

At Ildiko Butler, the panels were assembled into a work measuring 2.5 feet by 20 feet. Foulks decided to return to the fundamental concept at Buster Levi while working in acrylic paint, which she finds “more nuanced than charcoal. These paintings use a dark ground made by applying multiple layers of black gesso and then bringing the highlights out of the shadows.”

Another difference between the two exhibits, says Foulks, is the amount of exaggeration in the figures, which she hopes creates “a disorienting experience” by “shifting familiar sights into otherworldly contexts using the most familiar and personal of forms — the human body — as a source of manipulation.” She plays with the viewer’s vision through “surprising transformations of arms, legs, fingers and other bodily forms: calves morph into collarbones, elbows into knees, thighs into forearms.”

The show is a departure for the collective, which usually features the work of its members. Foulks, who lives in New York City, proposed the idea of exhibiting as a guest artist to Bill Kooistra, and he and the other members gave it the green light. 

Foulks, who works as a creative director at an advertising tech firm, says she is excited to return to a concept she calls “corporeal landscape.” It involves mixing “anchors of realism” with anatomically fictionalized parts. “That’s what makes the pictures powerful,” she says. “I love painting body parts — there’s so much detail and structure and contrast in the ligaments.”

Foulks, who grew up in Mahwah, New Jersey, says she knew early in life she would be an artist. “I found a lot of passion in it,” she says. At Fordham University, where she studied visual arts, she took drawing classes and “explored the body a lot, evolving into more of an abstract take on it. It has led to skills that have flourished over time.”

She has a side gig creating custom portraits of people and pets. After a break from painting, she says she began painting animals on commissions as a way to re-introduce herself to the art. “The graphic design [at her day job] lets me tap into a different way of thinking, while painting pushes me to put physical energy into the work, so I can pour myself into it,” she says.

The Buster Levi Gallery, at 127 Main St. in Cold Spring, is open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. See and

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