Thomas Hylander


“Far too many things to fit inside so small a box” *1

I have dug down into the “box” for this presentation, to show some works that’s not been out of the studio before, to explore and share different strands in my practice.

In the cabinets are the small stretched and bound canvases collectively named Bandages, Shelfie sculptures and some Paper Cuts which started in my student days and have stayed with me, surfacing on occasion as motifs in paintings.  

There’s a puffed-up evocative grandeur to a standalone title that I enjoy, and I keep lists of titles for future works as sketches, to remind me there’s more to do. Perhaps being from a family of journalists has something to do with it but it’s the process of painting and making itself that is the real engine to discover landscapes, faces, places, ciphers etc.  

The title came about when I was thinking about a trip to a museum I went on as a child. The place was half empty and I remember feeling the stares from the walls of paintings, following you around the room, unless you stood still and stared back. No portraits or eyes but a feeling of a presence there, asking for attention and putting you on the spot.

The Papercuts are folkloric and decorative, symmetrical, swarms of morphing shapes. They are ambiguous, always changing and that’s why I return to them, for the pleasure of discovery. It’s a method of drawing, using scissors, cutting to see the line fall away and folding space like a cubist painting. They are fragile and like decorations emotive, suggestive and throw away in their endless variations. I think of them as doodles in a space between 2 and 3 dimensions.

Halfmoon Bay shown here for the first time is a series of small works on card made back in the studio after long walks in Morecambe Bay. It’s A place of big contrasts, natural beauty and industry side by side, I had my eyes on the sand, the tidal mark drawings and the conglomerate objects of stone and metal.

Shelfies is the collective noun for the handful of small sculptures also on display in the cabinets. Built from off cuts and studio detritus, they are concerned with the same qualities I look for in painting, character and a sense of place.

Thomas Hylander

*1) A Laurence Weiner work on the façade of The Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland.

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