Llyn Foulkes, curmudgeon-genius of the L.A. art scene, has burst forth with a bevy of new work in two shows, displaying contrasting aspects of his Pop romantic persona. One aspect has Foulkes as a kind of obsessed outsider, cobbling together elaborate pictures of a world at once idealized and ravished by political and social perfidy. The latest installation in that worldview depicts a vista from the crest of the desert floor, littered with the detritus of late-American civilization and the surrealities of Foulkes’ own mind. The other facet of Foulkes is as a discursive, even ruminative picture-poet, thinking in shorthand about his beloved desert, about the transience and absurdity of human life, about the persistence of memory, and so on, in the droll images of discarded photo albums.

Robert Dean Stockwell shows with the Foulkesy selection of the latter at Craig Krull Gallery, and Stockwell’s trippy photomontages, shiny and vertiginous, play perfectly off Foulkes’ painterly free verse. Stockwell is every inch the visionary his pal is, only Stockwell’s material is less subtle about its vision. The several crosses built out of colored dice are the easiest apparitions to “get,” but it’s the wall work, evolving giddily out of the tradition set in motion by Max Ernst, that provides the depth.

Katy Stone shows her expansive, almost installational plastic sculptures with Foulkes’ large painting at Patricia Faure Gallery; Stone’s gentle colored rains, spattering down and around her cascades of transparent sheets, contrast thoroughly in spirit and in image with Foulkes’ ponderous picture, like a really dry wine paired with really bloody steak. Not to worry — Seattleite Stone’s precipitations rain on their own parade. Llyn Foulkes and Robert Dean Stockwell at Craig Krull, thru Nov. 29; (310) 828-6410. Foulkes and Katy Stone at Patricia Faure, thru Dec. 2; (310) 449-1479. All at 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Peter Frank

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