The Hole is pleased to present Titans a solo exhibition by British artist Xavier Baxter, the artist’s first in Los Angeles.

Every mark I put on the painting I have to think of it as if it was the first mark. It has to be done with freedom and energy and with no doubt. I can’t leave a mark that I have done without bravery.

(Xavier Baxter)

Titans showcases twenty new paintings by Baxter depicting abstracted figures hidden in plain sight. One-eyed giants with muscular limbs built up in bold line and color, the figures cram in with their colossal girth and massive brush strokes. Looming and loping with heads tilted to the side they are cabined, cribbed, confined by the limits of the canvas, and become the center of their own worlds.

In these bold and dynamic new works, Baxter’s compositions are loosely inspired from zooming in on old masterworks from the titans of art history—Rubens, Delacroix, Durer, Caravaggio—looking at how they depict the supporting cast in the painting. Enlarging the anonymous background figures to beyond-life-size Baxter gives them power and presence.

No tool is off-limits: obsessed with finding new ways to use paint, Baxter uses scrapers, pallet knives, hands, brushes, and brooms to apply amalgams of oil paint, spray paint, and acrylic mediums. His Greenpoint studio is an alchemical workshop where he combines not just every type of paint but every brand, inspired by artists who have invented their unique surfaces and styles like Leon Kossoff with his thickness, Anselm Kiefer with molten metal and electrolysis baths and Bram Bogart mixing marble dust into the paint. Drawn to the mystery of the unknown, Baxter’s exact painting chemistry shall remain a mystery to both the viewing public and his gallery.

Once your eyes adjust to Baxter’s hidden figures you can’t unsee them: with one eye and four toes, the titans appear in corners, then disappear and reappear as the canvas marks build. Despite the power and perhaps even aggression from the artist’s gestures that make their limbs these are gentle giants, sometimes stoic, sometimes soft, the tall guy standing in the back of the photograph to be polite. Baxter was born in England to a family of artists where both his mother and father were painters. And while his practice took off in a different direction, his early life experiences gave him unique insight and a wealth of knowledge from this artistic milieu.

Xavier Baxter (b. 1991, London, UK) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Baxter received a BA in sculpture from the City and Guilds University in London. His work has been exhibited in shows across the UK as well as the US Germany, Denmark, Spain, and Korea. Recent solo exhibitions include Angel Halloween at Vigo Gallery in London, A Moment in Time at Union Gallery in Londo,n and Nomads at Jack Hanley in New York City. Recent fairs include The Armory Show, Enter Art Fai,r and CAN Ibiza as well as a solo booth with Jari Lager at Untitled Miami.