James Hyde. West

20 Apr 2018 – 27 May 2018

Freight + Volume

New York
New York, United States


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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.

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Exhibiting artists

James Hyde


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