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James Hyde at Brent Sikkema
 
     
 
Installation view
2000
 
Bumper
1999
What would Matisse think of this show? If the best painting is like an overstuffed armchair, then there's no competition for James Hyde. The most imposing works on view are two gigantic pillows leaning against the walls, Big Pillow (7 feet high) and Massive Pillow (10 feet high -- although it has slouched down a bit lower than that).

The New York artist daubed the surfaces of the pillows with earth-colored patches of paint, apparently applied with a round sponge or cloth. The result is a work of both atmosphere and substance. In terms of technique, the painting is on an equal par with object-making. Unquestionably, these pieces, at once a bit sensuous and absurd, constitute a successful merger of painting and sculpture, an achievement for which Hyde has received considerable attention in recent years.

Also on view are examples of more familiar works. Bumper, for example, is a relief painting that sticks some 17 inches out from the wall. Covered with a colorful arrangement of rectangles, the work puns on geometric abstraction as it points the way to a new painterly vocabulary. This exhibition coincides with a show of more of Hyde's recent works and furniture at Patrick Callery, 433 W. 14 St., through Feb. 12.

James Hyde, "Recent Works," Jan. 15-Feb 12, 2000, at Brent Sikkema, 530 W. 22nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10011.

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