The Hole is proud to present a solo show of paintings by Russell Tyler, his first at the gallery. Twelve new canvases hang on our multicolored walls and though their stylistic variety seems broad, they sort themselves into three distinct new areas of exploration for the artist. Many visitors will recognize his geometric abstractions as similar to past exhibitions; the more gestural abstractions relate to works by Tyler we exhibited at the Hole three years back in “Two on Two”, but the most divergent group of works in this show are the stick-and-ball landscapes, as for the first time the artist is suggesting a representational referent.
Known for a restrictive, often formulaic, palette Russell here introduces some acidic neon yellow, flaming red and all manner of purple. Half are earth tones and half are highly synthetic colors not found in nature providing a jarring contrast. As is typical of his work the compositions have frames painted on the edges, often about the width of the stretcher bars beneath. Reinforced by his stain-painting approach of thinned acrylics, the works read as very literal art works; you see the fabric, you are reminded of the stretcher bars, you are prevented from seeing the works as windows when they reinforce their objecthood so directly.
The paintings all share a pale pink background which resembles mortar around the outlines of all his forms. Nothing blends; they only abut. The texture of the abutting shapes varies from transparent to opaque; the edges of the forms suggest the unpredictable staining of the canvas is used to dictate serendipitously, making the marks look both purposeful and random at the same time. In this way the abstract marks all seem to appear in quotes, or are somehow a pictorial representation of an abstract mark. Thus Tyler situates his work in the tradition of Jonathan Lasker or Claude Viallat, and though his work is always evolving, this continues his style of juxtaposing art historical tropes from the history of abstraction—here you might call it a post punk pictorial colorfield abstraction.
Tyler (b. Tennessee, 1981) received his M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and his B.F.A. from Concordia University in Montreal. He has had solo exhibitions at Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles, Denny Dimin Gallery in New York, Galerie Bernard Ceysson in France, Ribordy Contemporary in Switzerland, DCKT Contemporary in New York City, Freight + Volume in New York City, Alon Segev Gallery in Tel Aviv, Gordon Gallery 2 in Tel Aviv, and EbersMoore Gallery in Chicago. He has been included in group exhibitions at the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Torrance Art Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, Retrospective Gallery, The Fireplace Project, Ana Cristea Gallery, Thierry Goldberg Gallery and ACME among others. His work has been reviewed or featured in Artforum, Hyperallergic, Modern Painters, T The New York Times Style Magazine, NY Arts Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail and Le Monde.