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Press Release


Opening reception: Saturday, March 15, 6-8 pm

Friedrich Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce the second solo show of new works by Nicola Tyson. The opening reception is Saturday, March 15 from 6 to 8 pm and continues until April 26, 1997. This body of works consists of seven new paintings and two different types of charcoal drawings. Since her last exhibition in New York in 1994, Nicola Tyson's work has been seen at Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London (paintings) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (drawings).

Nicola Tyson continues to explore the possibilities of figurative painting, with images of eroticised flesh, human figures which lack definitive closure and undergo a process distortion and deformation. The bodies she creates are both monstrous and desirable and seem to have the capacity to disassemble themselves at any time. The formal resolutions are as important as the content, and she attempts to balance these two concerns in each painting so that there becomes a vital tension between the figure and ground, a clear structure of color and form and the enigmatic nature of the figures. Figure with Handles #1, 1997, is a delicate, headless, fantastical torso, with what appears to be handles and a surprising corolla of smooth-skinned tongues, that is mounted on a pole in a spaceous interior. The image is both shocking, pleasing and inexplicable. This particular body of work is more expansive than previous works, with close attention paid to scale, as in Two Figures Jumping, 1997. The painting depicts two armless, indeterminate pod-like figures, as if enclosed in body-stockings, suspended in mid-air in a teal colored interior.

Nicola Tyson has been partly influenced by the exhibitionist/performance artists Pierre Molinier and Leigh Bowery. She describes her sensibility as a combination of Hans Bellmer, who believed in erotic liberation by exploring the "physical unconscious" through the rearrangement and deconstruction of the female form, and Max Beckmann, who on the other hand viewed the physical world as a means of entering the metaphysical realm, an ideology that was driven by his desire to "penetrate the self".

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