Russell Tyler, Decomposing in the Land of Paradise, 2009, oil on canvas, 54 x 74 inches

Russell Tyler, No Ice Cream, 2009, oil on canvas, 54 x 60 inches

Russell Tyler, Wolf Man, 2009, oil on wood panel, 33 x 30 inches

Russell Tyler, Watching Over, 2009, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches


Decomposing in the Land of Paradise

February 11 – March 20, 2010


February 11 – March 20, 2010 | Opening Reception: Thursday February 11, 6 - 8

Russell Tyler: Decomposing in the Land of Paradise

Freight + Volume is pleased to present Russell Tyler’s latest body of work, Decomposing in the Land of Paradise. This is Tyler’s first solo show with the gallery.

Decomposing in the Land of Paradise consists of twelve oil-on-canvas, impasto paintings that bind themes of merriment and carnival with those of horror and the grotesque. Tyler critiques contemporary conventions by juxtaposing references to high and low art, reality and fantasy, irony and comedy; the history of art and mythology also play essential roles in his oeuvres.

By using thickly layered oil paints to create structurally loose forms, Tyler simultaneously suggests both composition and decomposition. While his highly charged use of color bears a clear reference to abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston, his relatively static brushwork is reminiscent of illustration and graffiti, which directly question the division between “high” and “low” art.

In works such as “The Ice Cream Man Poses as Poseidon” and “Watching Over”, Greek mythology is used as inspiration for figures and narrative elements, and effectively links Tyler’s contemporary work to an older tradition of art making and history. In addition, Tyler recycles his own characters from painting to painting. These types of comical transmogrification's and repetitions are fundamental to Tyler’s work.

Russell Tyler was born in Tennessee and has lived in Hawaii, British Columbia, and New York City. He received his BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where he won several awards for his work. Tyler is currently working towards his MFA at Pratt Institute.

For more information, please visit the gallery’s website or contact
Nick Lawrence (Director/Owner), Kevin Kay (Managing Director) at 212-691-7700 or


Art and Thinking
by Sioban Lombardi