Nicola Tyson

Suspended Figure, 2008, oil on canvas, 190.5×152.4 cm

Figurative representation in the work of Nicola Tyson is distorted almost to the point of abstraction. Frightening, grotesque or burlesque, the tension between what we can see and what we think we can see is revealing: perhaps of the artist, but more so, of the workings of our own imagination. Tyson’s works lead the viewer into hidden corners of the mind where memories, long forgotten or deliberately buried, are startlingly forced to re-surface. Here the force of her line and colour threatens to violate us beyond the canvas.

In her paintings, as in her drawings, a single figure usually occupies the pictorial space, cursorily explained by a horizon line or the confines of a room. It is unclear if her figures are masked or made-up, but mutilated by distortion they can appear bound, mute and helpless, raw and exposed or animated by rage but rarely serene. In contrast to the violent or silent solitude of her figures, Tyson’s sumptuous palette and the economy of her pictorial line, unify into visceral perceptive eloquence.

Nicola Tyson lives and works in New York. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally, and she has received numerous solo exhibitions, including a major retrospective at the Kunsthalle Zurich. Her work is in the collections of the Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Nicola Tyson is represented by Friedrich Petzel, New York and Sadie Coles HQ, London.