David Lyle — Bits and Pieces
Bits and Pieces
Past: September 13 → November 9, 2013
Born in the Japanese military base of Okinawa in 1971, David Lyle has been since his adolescence pretty much influenced by the musical trends of the 50’s and TV series such as The Twilight Zone, as his family moved back very quickly to the USA. Punk Rock music is one of the most important discovery for having introduced the young David to a sense of energy, as well as strong ideals and the particular aesthetic of album covers that captivate him and already nourish his artistic desires. What other city could better allow him to freely express his ideas and help him to assert his artistic positions but San Francisco? His determining encounter with Winston Smith and his definitely politically involved collages incites him to see further. Later, settled in Manhattan, he tries to answer to queries rising as one irritating obsession.
Where does that nostalgic feeling of the happy and untroubled 50’s and 60’s, of whom he collects objects, come from? And that pink evocation of the 50’s and 60’s might be considered as some kind of witness of people dark need to build the Golden Age of individualistic minds in our consuming society, might it not? On an exhausted earth suffering from the wild over productive system’s abuses, why do we still need to subconsciously sanctify Economy and try to see the good sides of it? And here is David Lyle’s reply. By striding along flea markets and auctions, this tireless snooper who exhumes photographs of his favourite years offers us a personal vision. Collages, first step of his work, must be seen as the artistic expression of teenage years reminiscences. Then, he applies on wood panels a white gesso that he enhances with black oil put on a brush to later make shades thanks to a cloth.
David Lyle gives a portrayal of a triumphant state walking back out victorious from the WWII and tending to spread over its universal model of happiness. And that’s what photography taught us. Lyle distorts the meaning by putting incoherent and contradictory elements from his personal archives with a particular attention to details. He turns his nose up at clichés with a dark touch of humour coloured with compassion and lets the unease gradually and slyly settle through those joyful images full of that happiness so peculiar to the American way of life. A certain impression of oddness emerges from such paintings, the same feeling we have in front of Robert Frank’s pictures or the Cohen Brothers’ disturbing images like Barton Fink or Barber can show. If only all these collectors of old vinyl records, vintage polaroids or posters could become aware of the treasures they own! And could consider how naïve their fantasies are! Maybe they would conclude that it really is a gloomy comedy.
In the painting Words of Wisdom, a housewife of the 50’s is looking a string with Nike’s slogan “Just do it” on it. If you see something, say something shows a passenger in a bus that holds with detachment a bomb on his knees next to his indifferent neighbours plunged into their reading. With Family Time he evokes the process of colonization of television establishing itself into American homes around which the whole family gathers, evocation of an idyllic image that promotes the benefits of individual success. Lyle, less angelic, suggests that things have already turned over. On screen, an episode of The Simpsons shows a sociopath Homer while struggling his son Bart in a comical gesture but quite violent. For the artist, this series is hiding only partly its innocence behind a cynic side yet highly asserted. David Lyle still remains an artist totally involved in his time. In his most recent series Graffiti, and especially in The Dealer, he is very critical of the Street Art status in contemporary art.
His birth on an occupied island must have had a great influence on his subconscious. Lyle is born in a country in situation of armed peace that has obliged ideals all over the world even if they were useless. He expresses that kind of sensations through a subversive language like these writers that decided to break free from conventions did: Kerouac and his relentless flee from traditional values of his time, Burroughs and his crazy collage of Naked lunch’s disjointed chapters, and Bukowski with his poetic provocative vision of free love and sex. Lyle, with a personal way, pursues this process of demolition.
Opening Thursday, September 12, 2013 6 PM → 9 PM