Beg, Borrow, Steal – Opening Reception

By in News on June 3, 2013

Local artist Tyler Johnston literally begged, borrowed and stole all of the objects in his most recent art exhibition featured at the Liquid Courage Gallery over the weekend.

Tyler said many of the objects in the “Beg, Borrow, Steal” show were considered garbage or simply in the way in his studio and home. He took it upon himself to paint them pink, reconstruct or rearrange them.

On Friday, despite the rain, many art enthusiasts turned up to view Tyler’s recent work. The art space was filled with different shades of pink, displaying Tyler’s creations: “Oh Darling”, “It’s a Shame You’re So Pretty”, “I’ll Be A Good Man For You”, “John Cox Is My Cousin”, “ Lucky, Lucky the Most Lucky” and “Good Breath is a Good Start”. He painted the objects pink to drastically alter their identity, especially those objects typically considered to be masculine, such as a cutlass, saw and arrow.

“In addition to changing the perceived content of an object’s identity, painting something a single colour, a colour other than its original, causes the form of the object to become emphasised as the viewer becomes hyper aware of its texture and shape,” said Tyler.

On display, there were objects such as salvaged cupboard doors, a gas hand pump, light bulbs, a vodka bottle, beach toys, a toothbrush, a timing belt, a wooden boat oar and a tea pot.

Tyler said: “Some of the objects have value in the retail market or as commodities. All of them, however, have value as a result of the ideas they represent or the stories behind them. Aspects of each object’s value may be enhanced or diminished as a result of the object’s transformation from something recognisable to something with a new identity.”

He said once an object is painted, the perception of its value changes. In addition to being painted, Tyler said the value of each piece is associated with the story behind it or the way in which it was obtained.

“The piece of brain coral stashed in the bushes by legendary Bahamian artist Kendal Hanna. Some of the objects’ original owners will be attending the show to discover that their belongings found a home in an art gallery with a new pink identity,” said Tyler.

“I think that it adds an element of interest to the project. I cant say that I did anything that I thought was unethical and when I say steal, it is in a gentle way. I don’t think that any serious laws were broken.”

He said it was done in a sense to accomplish the show, where he had to get the project completed by any means necessary. Tyler said he considers the show to be a very humorous one.

With 50 pieces on display, Tyler said the project was surprisingly very difficult to put together.

“Originally when I started painting these objects, some of them over a year ago, most of them in the last three months, I had to do a lot of experimentation. And there is a lot of technical work involved in finding how the paints appeared to different materials,” said Tyler.

Tyler said there was a huge gamete of materials used to produce the show, such as wax, metals, plastic, rubber, fishing lines and pipes, just to name a few.

“I found myself sort of obsessing over finding pink objects and having a desire to paint them pink. It was kind of a consuming project. Some of the objects after I painted them pink were really funny to me, some were grotesque and aesthetically really interesting, so it was surprising to see how the work transformed by just changing the colour of it,” said Tyler.

The exhibition will be on display at the Liquid Courage Gallery until June 30.

Alesha Cadet
The Tribune
Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

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