Magazine article Artforum International

David Coyle: 40000

Magazine article Artforum International

David Coyle: 40000

Article excerpt

In his recent book, Hotel Theory (2007), Wayne Koestenbaum writes, "Genres can be guests within other genres. A genre is a hotel in which other genres stay for the night." Evidently in agreement with this observation, painter David Coyle has dedicated himself to interrupting the drive toward interpretive closure by hopping between, juxtaposing, and layering visual signifiers of genre. In his second solo exhibition at the now defunct 40000, Coyle demonstrated his dedication to combinatory experiment by marshaling elements of fantasy illustration, gestural abstraction, geometric composition, cartooning, portraiture, and text.

Coyle's previous outings have been hampered by a tendency to allow this eclectic methodology to drift into technical showmanship; he has often devoted too much attention to the tools of his trade and not enough to his subjects. His recent paintings, however (a dozen new canvases were on display here, along with a single video), are less fussily executed, verging at times on the slapdash. This is a good thing, allowing the best of them to achieve a kind of awkward elegance. Keep out/Stay in (all works 2007), for example, is a small abstraction of alternately matte and glossy black bars that pulls the viewer close, making the most of the paint's rich texture. Elsewhere, comic characters like the lazy-eyed monster of Nosferatu and the abstracted magician of ... and then there was one. showcase Coyle's playful faux-adolescent humor. Taken together, these two approaches present us with an artist who clearly enjoys the license to pick and choose from a range of extant subjects and styles. …

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