Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged at the Serpentine Gallery

The Serpentine Gallery is currently displaying a marvellous exhibition by American artist, Wade Guyton. Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged presents works that Guyton has been producing over the past two years, and includes large-scale paintings that are printed onto sheets of linen and run through large ink jet printers. The exhibition also includes glass table cabinets through the gallery with Guyton’s smaller works on paper displayed inside them.

Some of Guyton’s earliest “drawings” are filled with black X’s over ripped-out book pages.  Using an Epson Stylus Pro 9600 inkjet printer and a computer as his main tools, the colour black and the letter X became Guytons’s signature motifs. Since 2005, Guyton has worked on canvas, and his work is typically exhibited in a series.

Guyton is one of many contemporary painters known for revisiting Modernism and he produces his canvases by using inkjet printers, scanners and iPhone cameras instead of a paintbrush, purposefully removing the pieces of mass-produced technology to test their abilities. The sheets of canvas are then folded up and pages are torn from art catalogues and run through inkjet printers. The thickness and resistance of the sheets of linen, torn edges of the paper and clogged inkjet heads, alongside technical glitches creates distortions and smears, that result in a rough finished product.

Some of the works include news articles and web searches of current events, mostly in America and relating to the current political situation in the country, such as The New York Times seen in ‘Untitled’ 2016, ‘Untitled’ 2015, and The Book of Mormon seen in ‘Untitled’ 2016.  Guyton uses his artwork to get his views and opinions across in a subtle way, yet once understood, his messages become very explicit.

Large glass cabinet tables containing Guyton’s works on paper and pages ripped from art catalogues are placed around the gallery. In some of his smaller works, viewers can see small pieces of inspiration and references that led to the creation of his larger paintings. Viewers have to get close to examine the works in the cabinets making the whole exhibition incredibly immersive and intimate.

In the large room of the gallery visitors are welcomed by the huge floor to ceiling windows of the Serpentine, bringing the stunning rays of natural sunlight in, shining on the works on the wall opposite. At the back of the room there is a stack of paintings that weren’t able to be displayed on the gallery walls due to lack of space.  However this adds to the abstract mystery of Guyton’s work. Viewers are invited to discover something different on each visit to this exhibition, as the paintings are regularly interchanged.

Sheltered by trees, the Serpentine Gallery, which stands at the edge of the Serpentine River in Hyde Park is surrounded by nature, with grass parkland stretching far and wide. This creates a beautiful contrast with Guyton’s artworks inside, which are very much centred around and created by technology. Visitors take great leaps when they walk to and from this exhibition. Inside, the gallery shows an artistic and unique approach to the technological world everyone is familiar with from modern everyday life, whereas once outside, visitors can take a breath of fresh air as they leave technology and the looming shadows of world events behind them.

Wade Guyton: “Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged” is on at the Serpentine Gallery until 8th February 2018.  More information may be found here.