Critics’ Picks

Nathan Hylden, Untitled, 2014, acrylic on aluminum, 77 1/2 x 57 1/2".

Nathan Hylden, Untitled, 2014, acrylic on aluminum, 77 1/2 x 57 1/2".


Nathan Hylden

Galerie Art: Concept
4, passage Sainte-Avoye entrance 8, rue Rambuteau
June 14–July 26, 2014

Nathan Hylden’s latest suite of large-scale painted and silk-screened (though not always in that order) aluminum panels pays homage to the artist’s own Los Angeles workspace. Joining a long line of artists who have treated their studios as subjects—from Vermeer to Matisse to Bruce Nauman, to name just a few—Hylden describes his creative environment in a limited palette of white, black, and blue on silvery light-reflective supports. Juxtaposing images of quotidian elements (wall, camera, chair) with fat, gestural brushstrokes and solid blocks of spray paint, Hylden’s studio-scapes invite literal and metaphorical interpretation.

The nine works on view (all untitled, 2014) are based on photographs of a wall marked with masking tape right angles, suggesting the spot where an artwork once hung or will hang. This frame within a frame device, and the sense of collapsed time that it implies, remains constant as various ghostly objects and painterly flourishes are introduced throughout the series. In the first image the viewer encounters, a shadow of a tripod-mounted camera occupies the center of the masking-tape frame. The wispy three-legged form—a surrogate for the artist—reappears in slightly different locations across several panels before it is replaced by a shadow of a chair, implicitly inviting an outside observer—the viewer—to get comfortable and enter the scene.

Recalling Andy Warhol’s 1978–79 “Shadows” series of handpainted silk screens based on photographs of the Factory, Hylden’s body of work likewise challenges the seriality versus singularity dichotomy. In Hylden’s studio, the practices of painting and silk-screening appear no more mutually exclusive than the presence of representational and abstract imagery.