Foreground and background, photography and painting, site and non-site, figure and ground—these oppositions are the literal and conceptual structure of James Hyde’s paintings on photographic images. An influential but under-recognized figure in New York and Brooklyn’s art scene, for the last twenty years Hyde has made work that advances the sometimes-exhausted inheritance of American postwar abstraction. He takes as seriously the formalist nihilism of Clement Greenberg’s negations as the eccentric idiosyncrasies of its practitioners. He uses the flat field of painting as a topological arena that ties together the physical substance of painting and the ground on which it is laid, extracting spatial dimensions and new meanings from this relationship. Hyde has investigated the abstract gesture in relationship to photography since 2003, when he began a series of nearly accidental works on photographic images made with an inkjet printer. In these increasingly direct works, he utilizes abstraction to break photography’s semantic hold on the way we construct an image of the world.
As opposed to the work of West Coast artists such as John Baldessari, whose juxtaposition of photography and abstraction exists in play and in sync with mass media, Hyde’s opposition of the extreme surface “realism” of digital photography, placed against the colors of his abstract shapes, snaps photography into place, making it a site, a location, naturalizing it as a pictorial fact, while reframing the question of the truthfulness of photography.
Excerpt from 'Ground', An Interview with James Hyde By Lucía Sanromán.
James Hyde has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina Greensboro, NC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, NY; Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Museo Cantonale d'Arte, Lugano, Switzerland; and Musee Fabre, Montpellier, France, among others. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship in 2000 and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. Hyde is presently Faculty Critic at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and at The Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Recent solo and group exhibitions include Ground, Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles, CA; Varieties of Useful Experience, Volume and Paris London Hong Kong, Chicago, IL; James Hyde: Survey, Magazzini, Pianello Val Tidone, Italy; SITElines 2014: Unsettled Landscapes, SITE Santa Fe, NM; Six Works Around a Dam (6 unrelated soloshows), David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; PAINT THINGS: Beyond the Stretcher, deCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; The Road, Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles, CA; Live Principles of Ventilation and Adhesion, Villa du Parc Contemporary, Annemasse, France; Building Materials, Control Room, Los Angeles, CA; and many other venues, including Sikkema Gallery, New York, NY; Galerie Lelong, New York, NY; DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA.