T.L. and I have worked together before but in that madness of 2020. We hadn't met in person till now, and I onlysaw the work once I had delved through reels and reels of images on a screen. So this presentation will mark thefirst proper time we have both been in the same place with the work at the same time. To take advantage of thatfact, we will do it twice on the off chance the world falls apart again. We will present two different groups of workacross the length of the Fair. Part One and Part Two.
T.L. Solien is a balloon twister of a painter - instead of latex bags making animal after animal in quick succession. He repeatedly paints, creating portrait after portrait. You can put the works we display at the Fair into twocamps, Darker and Brighter, Rendered and Scattered. The results in Part One and Part Two have their own setof challenges and skills. Depending on the moment's needs, he might quickly move between both camps ormultiple approaches, or they might even incorporate the odd additional techniques. These recent works haveevolved to include a range of very complex moves. In addition, a highly specialized language has emerged todescribe the processes involved and their resulting creations. To distill his work into only two groups is almostimpossible. Still, this introductory presentation with the gallery gives us the chance to be generous andsuccinct in telling part of the story.
"I've always wanted my paintings to be 'confrontational,' to make the subject of the painting, ultimately, the viewer's psychological relationship with the painting being viewed. Most recently, the color has become much more intense, almost day-glow on occasion, as I try to amp up the visual presence of the paintings to compete most effectively with all of the other visual distractions we face in our lives daily," he says. "This battle for the viewer's attention becomes more and more difficult to win as time goes by, and we are challenged by the vast volume of images that pass in front of us each minute, hour, and day, and at a velocity never possible in previous communication technologies. At times it feels like being in a gunfight with a pea shooter, while your opponent is packing lasers of death."
At the centre of Part One is 'Come and Go With Me', a painting that began in 1980 and finished in 2021. A route in and a path out to Part Two. T.L. is not a linear painter. He doesn't tell linear stories. But grappling with the idea of how to get across what's going on with a body of work expansive, exciting, dark, light, joyous and anxiety-filled. I thought it relevant to show a painting that was started before I was born and finished a few weeks before we meet, forty-one years after the first few strokes were made.
Part Two, we now hang four, four-foot works jostling for attention on our big wall. The Roving Sign, The Architect, The Chech Vase and Little Pipe. The balloons now squeaking extra loud, the works made this year and the screeching fresh. But, while the paintings are brighter, punchier and louder - there is still an undercurrent of wounds, scrapes, knocks and boo-boos.