Freight+Volume is pleased to announce West, an exhibition of new work by James Hyde, the artist’s first solo show in New York City since 2010. Fusing landscape photography with painted shapes and abstract forms, the artist explores themes of visual perception and reproduction, all the while challenging the boundaries of painting as a medium.
Throughout his career, Hyde has paid especially close attention to the material components of his practice, deconstructing established techniques and employing variables such as seriality, repetition, and spatiality. Ranging from flattened compositions to glass boxes and frescoes, his work is wide-ranging and unencumbered by convention. He is attuned to the gulf between artistic intention and the viewer’s own comprehension, and he transforms this chasm into a discourse of sorts, using it as a source of creative energy. Hyde describes his artistic outlook in the following way: "I think painting is never entirely about being a painted object, nor a medium in the narrow sense. I think painting is, as well, a symbolic and allegorical situation that happens to be made by a particular medium and set of materials."
The works on display in West draw from a juxtaposition of abstract painting and landscape photography, a pairing that proves to be simultaneously idiosyncratic and highly intuitive. Bands, dots, and curved swathes of color punctuate scenic vistas, which are often dramatically cropped or manipulated. The enigmatic presence of the abstract forms pushes the viewer to ascertain some logic for their being; here, Hyde’s "symbolic and allegorical situation" is particularly rich, bridging the Western landscape and its attendant associations with those of abstract painting. While it is possible to appreciate his painterly interventions solely on the ocular level, the undercurrents of meaning and allusion in the works are what give them weight.
In Vale, a thick outline of a circle rendered in white paint hovers in front of an image of rolling hills, an imprint of a negative image that disrupts the lush environment. While the circle’s shape slightly echoes the curvature of the hills, its presence is clearly artificial, and works as a sort of challenge to the landscape. In Crossing (Yellow) the landscape is duplicated and mirrored horizontally, then overlaid with crisscrossing bands of yellow and white. Here, the painted passages have a more agreeable relationship with the ground image, recalling lines of sight, and possibly suggesting the path the viewer’s eye should follow. The works in West set up quandaries of perception and meaning, grounded in this dialogue of landscape photography and paint.
James Hyde was born in Philadelphia, and moved to New York City at eighteen years of age to pursue a career as an artist. His work ranges from paintings on photographic prints to large-scale installations, photography, and abstract furniture design. He is represented by galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Copenhagen. Mr. Hyde's work has been exhibited at the Maison de la Culture de Bourges and the Centre d'Art Contemporain d'Ivry, Galerie Fernand Leger/Credeac in France, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, and the Zwemmer Gallery in London. He has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship, among others. Mr. Hyde's pieces are included in the collections of the Nation of France, the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York, the Denver Art Museum, and the Museo Cantonale d'Arte in Lugano, Switzerland. He has lectured as a visiting professor at a number of institutions, including Yale University, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bard College, and Cooper Union. He lives and works in Brooklyn.