This past weekend I visited the gallery South First (located on N. 6th) in Williamsburg for a second round viewing of the works by James Hyde. First time around I was dumbfounded and simply couldn’t make sense out of these works. There was an onrush of references from Minimalism to Rauschenberg’s Combines mixed with seeing something completely new, a complete abandonment of convention where even the use of found objects to recreate context and meaning has become norm and redundantly rehashed.
Jim’s interest and exploration with the allegorical figure of Painting is manifest in a conglomerate effort with materials and images and here, photographic images function as backdrops to abstract gestures of paint, mixing rigid geometric patterns with spontaneous expression executed directly on the photographic canvas. Scraps of wood adorn some works with sloppy paint drippings layered on top marking an active engagement between each distinct element of image, paint, and object. This is typical of Jim’s practice, merging materials as wide ranging as chairs, handles, rocks, and utilizing them to stimulate a discourse on Painting and setting up a difference between mediums rather than similarity.
In the current show the technical ground and image field of photography is used as a grounding to picture painting, a place for the painting to emerge, “a matter of trying to keep materials so they have their own voice and create their own picture.” Here images of nature and unfinished construction sites are covered in streak of paint, simultaneously accenting and silencing the image beneath. Perhaps evoking a duel between paint and photograph, but I’d like to think they are engaging in friendly banter, each color, branch, metal pole wearing its Sunday best for the viewer.
“A painting is made by covering a surface with paint. It is this covering which reveal the painting. It reveals what it is generically; that thing – – a painting. The covering as an act locates the place where the painting become individual; this particular painting. Covering to reveal, does this sound like the logic of lingerie?”
The show is up until this weekend, make sure not to miss it!