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THOM MAYNE:

CONSTRUCTING THE SPONTANEOUS

On view:

February 10th - April 6th, 2024

Paul Kyle Gallery is proud to present ‘Constructing the Spontaneous’, an unprecedented exhibition of Pritzker-winning architect Thom Mayne’s visionary digitally assisted artworks. Renowned for his ground-breaking contribution to architecture and design, Mayne’s latest series of artworks emerges as a profound exploration of the interplay between the forefront of technology and humanistic ideals and expression.  

 

Thom Mayne’s latest series of artworks, guided by the principles of wilfulness and chance, represents a diligent and lengthy exploration into the dialogue between the digital and the tangible. Each piece in the exhibition is the result of a rigorous generative process that begins with commanding a computer algorithm, which spawns a series of images from a core set of primitive geometries. Other variables, such as rotating and stacking operations, opacity metrics, and additive and subtractive form-making allow for the work to reach a highly specified set of compositions. From these algorithmically generated images, Mayne selects one that most profoundly embodies his artistic vision, combining colour, composition, and an ineffable sense of true human beauty. The final painting—rendered tangible through a delicate and laborious UV printing process—represents an interconnected network of parameters that can randomly produce new sets of unexpected results. This creates a discrete, one-of-a-kind series, with each artwork’s uniqueness guaranteed by the immediate destruction of its digital kin.  

The rich texture achieved through the UV printing process is brought to life with hand worked processes such as gold-leafing and rust pigmentation, a nod to Mayne’s early work—Sixth Street (1987), Whiskers Lamp (1986). In experimenting with this printing method, Mayne found that the artworks exhibited a dynamic quality with colours that oxidized and matured over time, echoing a rare impermanence only found in nature. While this transformative characteristic was a prominent feature during the experimental phase, the current works have since reached a state of equilibrium. They stand as testaments to Mayne’s early research efforts and his embrace of process and exploration in art. This period in Mayne’s artistic journey underlines his belief that art is an evolving entity, reflective of the human condition and its continuous state of flux.  

 

Thom Mayne’s works in this exhibition invite viewers to engage with a narrative of creation that is as ancient as the act of painting and as pioneering as space travel. Mayne introduces a new medium of digital intelligence that we are only able to glimpse and study from afar. What follows, is a collection of paintings that represent the intersection of digital scripting and Mayne’s own artistic sensibilities accumulated throughout his entire career.   

Paul Kyle Gallery warmly welcomes the public and press to the opening reception, offering an unique opportunity to immerse in the cutting-edge and significant narrative in the history of art. Thom Mayne will be present to share insights into the alchemy of his process and the philosophy that shapes his unique oeuvre.


For more information and interviews, please contact the gallery at +1-604-620-0049, or email info@paulkylegallery.com. Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM or by appointment anytime. 

ABOUT THOM MAYNE

 

Thom Mayne, born in 1944 in Waterbury, Connecticut, is a figure of profound influence in the field of architecture, design, and art. His journey into architecture began with his education at the University of Southern California, and later at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he was exposed to a group of accomplished practitioners. This exposure catalysed his interest in architecture, though initially, he had minimal understanding of the practice’s professional aspects.  

 In 1972, after a brief career in urban planning, Mayne, alongside James Stafford, founded Morphosis in Santa Monica, California. Morphosis—derived from the Greek term meaning “to be in formation”—reflects Mayne’s philosophy of architecture as an ever-evolving, dynamic process. This approach has been evident in his works, characterized by offset angular forms, layered exterior walls, and an innovative use of light and space. 

 

That same year, Mayne played a pivotal role in establishing the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), aiming to reinvent architectural education with a more socially conscious and experimental approach. This initiative came amidst Mayne’s disaffection with the conventional educational system and his belief in the need for a radical alternative.  

 

Mayne’s career has been marked by a continuous exploration of architectural boundaries, often challenging traditional norms and expectations. Notable projects include the Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California, the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in Los Angeles, and the iconic Cooper Union Academic Building in New York City. Each of these structures embodies Mayne’s signature style of dynamic forms and complex, sculptural façades.  

 

Beyond his architectural practice, Mayne has significantly contributed to architectural theory and education. His tenure as a professor of architecture and urban design at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and his writings and teachings have influenced a generation of architects and thinkers. His approach emphasizes the importance of architecture in responding to and reflecting social, cultural, and environmental contexts.  

 

In the field of art, Mayne’s contributions are notable. His work transcends conventional architectural drawings and models, challenging traditional perceptions and functions of these mediums. Having participated in solo exhibitions at esteemed institutions such as the Pompidou Centre, Museum of Modern Art, and the Walker Arts Centre, his art is a testament to his exploratory and interdisciplinary approach. At his art and research studio, Stray Dog Café, Mayne delves into creative works that further blur the boundaries between architecture, art, and research.  

 

Mayne’s book “Strange Networks” (2020) featuring his “drawdels”—an invention combining drawing and model—encapsulates his philosophy, focusing on the relationship between aesthetics, use, and context, and highlighting his interest in the unpredictable aspects of human behaviour. His art and architecture thus emerge as intertwined expressions of a singular vision, reflecting a deep commitment to exploring complex, often unattainable forms, and ideas.  

 

Mayne’s work, both in architecture and art, is characterized by a relentless quest for innovation and a challenge to the status quo. His exhibition at Paul Kyle Gallery in Vancouver is a culmination of his dedication to art and research, offering a unique insight into his creative process and vision. It is not merely a showcase of his artistic achievements but a reflection of his profound impact on the fields of architecture and art. His contributions have reshaped the landscape of contemporary design, making him an essential figure in understanding the evolution and potential of architecture and art in the modern world.

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