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Press Release


Opening reception: Friday, October 15, 6-8 pm

On October 15th Friedrich Petzel Gallery will open the exhibition, Nicola Tyson Paintings and Works on Paper. The exhibition will feature seven paintings and several graphite drawings that demonstrate Tyson's continuing developments in both landscape and figurative modes, and her unique artistic ability at fusing these two typically distinctive styles. There will be a public opening for the artist on October 15 and the exhibition will remain on view through November 13, 1999.

Making their first appearance in New York City are paintings representative of Tyson's recent switch from oil paint to the medium of acrylics. This subtle crossover provides a new freedom for Tyson to bring the spontaneity of her drawings into a colorized vision on canvas. The paintings are more gestural, creating a loose physicality. A sense of structure underlies them all, yet Tyson develops images that cannot be tied down. Her landscapes, which are new additions to a series shown last spring in London, retain the frenetic nature of her figurative drawing, yet the soft palette of blue and pink gives the work an added sensuality.

In View #3 the abstracted view of a cliff face spreads out on the canvas suggesting at the same time both a patterned surface and a woman's body. Tyson succeeds at finding the appropriate balance between the playful and the sublime in her figurative paintings as well. Large, enigmatic characters simultaneously attract and repel the viewer. Paintings such as Fig. 1, in which the figure's distorted hands resemble firing rounds of ammunition, or Self Portrait: Sphinx, a creature whose genitals are freely displayed, demonstrate the ongoing dialectic within Tyson's work between the figurative and abstraction, male and female, human and animal, the organic and the utterly unnatural, dreams and reality.

The graphite drawings are intimate examples of Tyson's artistic vision and her skill as a draftswoman. Each sketch is like an energetic burst of the fantastical. The images are arranged in sets of nine according such visual associations as the fleshy, hairy, animal or anal.

Nicola Tyson is a British artist who studied at Chelsea and St. Martin's but has lived and worked in New York since 1990. A major survey of her work was exhibited at Zurich Kunsthalle in 1998. This is her third solo exhibition in New York.

For further information, please contact the gallery at, or call (212) 680-9467.