James Hyde’s Varieties of Useful Experience at Volume Gallery
He just opened a sprawling solo show at the Chicago design gallery Volume, but if you’re not familiar with the work of James Hyde — or at least not to the degree of other Volume alums like Jonathan Nesci, Tanya Aguiñiga, or Stephen Burks — you’re not alone. And in fact, that’s kind of the point: Hyde, who began his career in New York in the ’70s, is a painter, and even when his works take the form of sofas or lamps, they remain squarely in the realm of art — investigations into materiality and thing-ness. “My furniture can be thought of as pictorial abstractions of a painting panel,” Hyde has said in the past. And according to the gallery, Varieties of Useful Experience “ventures to conceptually reconsider the domestic landscape … as potential art. In the context of this exhibition, the paintings become ‘wall decoration’ and are within the same realm of consideration as pillows, chairs, and tables. All of the objects are suited for a variety of uses and metaphors.” Volume curators Sam Vinz and Claire Warner have engaged other artists in the past whose works happen to veer into the realm of the functional, and to be honest, it often piques our curiosity even more than when they collaborate with designers. Check out the exhibition photos below and see if you agree.