November 12th, 2018

Kyle Thurman at Central Fine

Central Fine 14

Artist: Kyle Thurman

Venue: Central Fine, Miami

Exhibition Title: Like crazy nature

Date: October 7 – November 20, 2018

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Central Fine 1

Central Fine 10 (1)

Central Fine 15

Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.


Images courtesy of Central Fine, Miami. Photos by Zachary Balber.

Press Release:

CENTRAL FINE is pleased to present Kyle Thurman’s first presentation in Miami Beach: Like crazy nature.

A line, which can be any line (Political, emotional, poetic, diagrammatic, or drawn) starts these works. The line takes place on a sheet of seamless paper, typically used for commercial photo shoots. The colors in that field are uniform, random, and distant from their subjects, signaling a disconnection between figures and what could be a neutral landscape, or a set, or a set of circumstances.
Color, traditionally, brings a tonality that somehow charges or underlines, emotionally, images. But in Thurman’s works something stands in that specific ground marked with pastels, charcoal, marker and pencil. What appears seems to indicate the obliqueness of libidinal trajectories and emotions, which are ‘captured’ via the act of re-recording a body against a field that represses what comes forward, rather than releasing it; while paradoxically, enhancing (the body) and various contexts and oppressions.

The field of colored paper promotes a contrast that sharpens the uniformity of the background against the sinuous lines in these drawings; therefore, the readymade ground can manifest itself as an oppressive force, but also as a broadcasting one. At once, the tone in Thurman’s works is suffocating and beatific. The drawings vibrate against that readymade background – which serves as a building place that oddly never ’swallows’ the participants. If there are traces and transparencies of the readymade paper, these transparencies establish varying degrees of proximities with the bodies or the actions depicted, rather than symbiotically merging with them.

Maybe the drawings are a figuration of a libido (personal and universal) that appears in its own terms? These bodies, caught in the act of sleeping, fighting, running, could be seen as being ‘Captured by an autistic Eros which, however revamped its [theoretical] apparatus may be, seems like an Old Acquaintance'[1] Thurman doesn’t think of these drawings as self-portraits per se, but rather as embodiments of labor, sleep, rest, conflicts, celebrations, et-cet. All signaling a functional symbolism, or a poetic and lucid blindness. In the works we find, what once were named as ‘suggested occupations’[2], being those the tasks that somehow put in a trance, or possess the figures re-presented. The initial wandering line that starts these works is later ‘filled’ with a sum of associative politics – understanding the later as groupings of tensions. The figures linger and push themselves into something that remains reluctant to be registered, fully engaging with the thing (das ding, die sache, la chose) [3],”The Thing is characterized by the fact that it is impossible for us to imagine“.

Moreover, something in-absentia hovers over these works presenting the figures drawn, as utterly vulnerable and exposed. Absence can exist as a link that activates tension and a constant permutation of signifiers. The title of the show: Like crazy nature, could be read as three words chained into a Borromean movement. In this scene, where the holes and the openings between words, portraiture, audience, emotion, speculation, and failure converge, is where we can see The Real escaping the confines of sense. And it’s in this space where The Real can act as a shifting semblance, were bodies fight, celebrate, or sleep, and the artist, that doesn’t see the model all the time, gazes at the paper or the sourced photograph that he draws from, and builds layers. Here, labor, the gaze, speech, memory, and fiction exist on a plane that could be described as body/speech; or an unstable ground. What we face, ultimately, is a form of active suspension.

Kyle Thurman directs a set of actions, protagonists, colors, frames, gaps and all sorts of grounds (generic, institutional, artificial and readymade-ones) to bring forward signs that evoke the articulations of an artistic praxis as something personal and yet, filled with tactics. This is perhaps a vulnerable place, where we encounter people with eyes semi-closed or completely closed, bodies that seem to be sleeping or caught, taken by life. In all the works these figures see something that we cannot. As such, these works are loaded with possibilities, all standing as sites for projection. In all these works there are paths of color assuredly and ambivalently presented, delivering an image filled with tenderness and anxiety. Thurman’s praxis plants itself, maybe, in a space where every single element (color, line, frame, wall) is a body that must be considered against the possibilities, failures and phantasms of the masks that we embody, daily.

Re-representations of diagrams, included in this exhibition, act as punctuations that emphasize poiesis [4]. The diagrams, which render the emotions anger, fear, guilt/shame, envy/jealousy, and misfortune (something didactic, aiming at hyper-visibility) are, instead, chalky, watery, bold and vulnerable. They occupy their own space standing as groupings of directives depicted in moody and yet vibrant colors, near bodies in action, that, like mirrors, are charged with past, present, and future beings; which in turn, appear filled with a group of affiliated likes and likes and likes.

Diego Singh, Miami Beach, September 14, 2018


Kyle Thurman was born in 1986 in West Chester, PA. He lives and works in New York. He studied Film and Visual Arts at the Columbia University, then furthered his studies as a guest student at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf with Christopher Williams. He later earned his MFA in painting at Bard College. He has held exhibitions at Off Vendome, New York and Dusseldorf; Office Baroque, Brussels; On Kindness: Jacob Kassay and Kyle Thurman, MOCA Tucson; That Singing Voice, Galeria Marta Cervera, Madrid; among others.

His work is part of the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Notes

[1] Lacan, Jacques, Ecrits, Copyright 1966, 1970, 1971, 199, by Editions de Seuil. Translated by Bruce Fink in collaboration with Heloise Fink and Russel Grigg; W.W. Northon and Company, Paris-London. English translation copyright 2006, p: 588.

[2] Suggested occupations’ here refers to jobs suggested to Thurman at some point. These occupations can be read not only under the lens of labor, but also, as something that occupies and possesses the subject.

[3] Das Ding, The Thing, La Chose, is, that which cannot be explained. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p. 125

[4] Poiesis is understood here as the production of Aletheia, which the ancient Greeks associated with the act of unveiling that which remains resistant to naming, (One could infer that what Aletheia unveils is The Freudian concept of Das Ding, later re- addressed by Lacan as La Chose, meaning The Thing?)

Link: Kyle Thurman at Central Fine

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