Sunday, May 18, 2008

Artforum Picks Daniel Tierney

Daniel Tierney
49 Geary Street, Suite 411
May 1–May 31

"Though more lucrative and widespread than film, computer games, and in particular their visual style and youthquake energy, have had difficulty gaining purchase in the art world. This is part of what makes Daniel Tierney’s recent paintings and sculpture so fascinating—at first glance, a gallery visitor would never guess his sources. The show’s slangy title, “Ghost Hesh,” however, does betray roots in scraggly skater scruff. Tierney’s work hangs tough between the dude-friendly realms of computer games, heavy metal, and skating and knowingly experiments with abstraction, color, and the distinctions between real and virtual spaces. The artist's skill allows him to skirt the youthful stigma of his inspirations to create a fresh and sophisticated aesthetic. By manipulating kaleidoscopic color schemes in acrylic and spray paint, Tierney evokes free-floating psychedelic stained-glass windows arranged in what seem like three-dimensional spaces. A number of the paintings resemble melted David Hockney stage sets: Dimensionality is palpable, and yet the thin application of paint is clearly rooted in screen-based media. A few other works initially appear to conflate photographic and painted space—Tierney works in stages, drawing on photographs, rephotographing those compositions, then creating tableaux of his paintings that serve as the subjects for what are essentially still lifes—yet these works are clearly in dialogue with painting’s history. The canvases are treated with conceptual care, and yet the source material seems to be treated roughly—shapes are crumpled, the brushwork sometimes comes across as violent—an approach that serves as an affectionate challenge to the kid-glove reverence that often characterizes the medium’s young practitioners. The show also includes geometric sculptures made from painted two-by-fours, and the forms owe as much to a Grand Theft Auto motorcycle ramp as to Sol LeWitt or Malevich. As a group, the works manage the kind of thrill that Aaron Young should create with his motorbike extravaganzas. But Tierney seems to be having a lot more fun."

—Glen Helfand

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