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James Hyde, Unbuilt


60 North 6th Street, 718-599-4884
March 6 - April 26, 2009
Web Site

Southfirst is proud to present “Unbuilt,” an exhibition of paintings by James Hyde on view from March 6 – April 19th, 2009.

The raw material for this exhibition of new work by James Hyde, paintings on photographs made from 2006-2009, is enamel and acrylic paint, digital prints and linen. Styrofoam, papier-mâché, silicone and wood all make appearances, but if perhaps the most famous formulation of the definition of painting is that of Maurice Denis, who wrote that “a painting…is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order,” then Hyde’s paintings investigate with energy the collision of paint on the flat field of a photographic surface. Everything else builds from this premise.

While the photographs are Hyde’s own, the images do not readily identify him. They are views of construction sites, clouds and waves. In one of the smaller piece in the exhibition, A Flow, 2008, a dandelion provides ground for a pasty blue paint snarl executed in solidarity with the single flower, a response made in the language of abstract painting; it’s a microcosmic tonic to the old standoff between painting and photography. A romantic tone, and the occasional Delacroix sky, is maintained throughout the exhibition: the materials here are always teaching each other little constructive lessons, and this dialogue infuses the prosaic construction sites with poignancy. Photography, spectral as much as pragmatic, is here, as ever, evasive—delivering to us moments which, as Roland Barthes wrote, “could never be repeated existentially.”

Best known for transformations of abstract paintings into physical objects (glass boxes, pillows, handles, to name a few), Hyde has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, most recently including solo exhibitions at Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York, and Elisabeth Kaufmann Gallery, Zurich, in 2005. He curated the project “Ghost Story” in Zingmagazine in 2004. His work has been reviewed by most major art publications including Artforum, Art in America, ARTnews, and Flash Art. Born in Philadelphia, he lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
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