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Sadie Coles HQ

19 Jan – 19 Feb 2005

In both her paintings and drawings Nicola Tyson strikes an intriguing balance between the abstract and figurative. Her figures combine elements of both the comic and the grotesque. Figure Running is an imposing mountain of flesh, possessed with a primal energy, but, with a precarious balance, pin head and helplessly short arms, this strength is undercut by a sense of vulnerability. This dichotomy recurs throughout Tyson’s gallery of portraits. The objective head and shoulders shots of the passport booth are rendered subjective via the expressive distortion of their features. Limbless, bizarrely proportioned figures, at once amorphous and angular emerge as sexualized beings.

Within the paintings strident tones seem to be Tyson’s main means of articulating psychological depth, but within the black and white drawings it becomes plain that form plays an equally significant role. To the freeness of line and apparent spontaneity depth and determination are added via shading. Their automatic aspect forges links with the surrealists, extended further via the sexual edge and psychological bent that underscores both Tyson’s drawings and paintings.


35 Heddon Street London W1B 4BP

Tel +44 20 7434 2227 Fax +44 20 7434 2228


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