James Hyde & Jessica Labatte

9 January - 3 February 2013
Installation Views
Press release

The gallery is pleased to announce a two-person exhibition of work by Brooklyn-based painter James Hyde and Chicago-based photographer Jessica Labatte.


Generating a revisionist model of painting, James Hyde’s “Glass Box” paintings appear simultaneously illusionistic and literal. The paint, paper, wood, and other materials used to make the painting aren't so much painting materials as physical surrogates for painterly activity. To imagine Hyde's “Glass Boxes” as sculpture would be to see them as slap-stick contraptions caught in the act of painting themselves into being. These works redeem themselves as painting through the magic of what Duchamp called "delay in glass". By this logic the dimensional contents of the box inhere as inscription on the frontal plane of glass. This way, the illusionistic flow of traditional painting is reversed-- instead of seeing space in a flat surface, Hyde's petri dishes of formalist tropes present his dimensional constructions flatly.


Also on view are works from Hyde’s “Istanbul Papers,” a series of a small works on paper completed over a two week period that the artist spent in Istanbul in 2011. Always interested in exploring the physical materiality of the two-dimensional painted picture, Hyde constructed these images using scavenged materials such as paper bags from local produce markets, acrylic ground from a building supply store, found pigments, white glue, and egg yoke. The simple, abstract, painted shapes of these works are sourced from medieval tile designs used throughout Istanbul.


Photographer Jessica Labatte’s work has been involved with the liminal space between photography, sculpture, and painting that can be generated through studio experimentations with reflective surfaces, light, color, and scale. Labatte creates color inkjet photographs of sculptural assemblages set up in her studio, but the resulting prints are never straightforward renditions. Rather, Labatte’s works are sophisticated abstractions that avoid the appearance of mindless Photoshop reverie by skillfully juxtaposing complex shapes and colors and by offering hints of the physical materials of her assemblages such as mirrors and cut paper.


These artists are clearly united by their bold challenges to the boundaries of two-dimensional representation, abstract painting, and sculpture. The use of clearly defined, basic shapes in both of the artists' work further demonstrates the persisting ability of contemporary artists to call into question acts of artistic representation, even using the seemingly most elemental, simplistic of visual forms.