Tyler Macko's exhibition Oak Bucket reflects on the personal, culling from his family history and genealogical references. This show becomes a space where the artist invokes the intimate, pulling his viewers in with stories painted on oversize rugs. Resin cast sculptures of oranges also punctuate the gallery to illustrate the rift between domesticity, consumption, and the relationship everyday objects have within an exhibition setting.
Macko's rug works branch out of the kitchen but remain within the realm of the domestic. He experiments with the traditional wall textiles that were popular in American living rooms and dens in the 1950s and 1960s, kitsch hangings emblazoned with stags, bears, and fawns—wilderness tapestries that so often depicted a traditional family scene in a pine forest or lake replete with father, mother, and baby animal. Macko noticed these wall hangings growing up in Ohio, especially in more rural settings like his grandmother's small-town home. These works took on particular significance for the artist in that they all centred around the same theme of traditional family unit. While slightly different, they were all still somehow the same. Macko's reaction was to erase these narrative scenes, foregrounding the nuances in the patterns or the variations in the weave (earlier versions were made on a handloom while later series were printed on electronic looms in Eastern Europe).
Painting over the narrative in black is a way to paint out the personal, to hide the unique fragments of information about each individual work. Macko's black creates an effect that is reflective, mimicking the experience of gazing into a body of water, or for the artist, into a well. Looking into his own family history, Macko found an etching of his family's early 1800s Ohio homestead that includes a well in the image. This genealogical research formed the impetus for this series, wherein the black in these works is a nod to this deeply personal family picture. Looking into a well you see only reflections, the trees and the sky and perhaps your own face in the water. Macko seems to argue that no matter how hard one looks it's never quite the full picture.
Oak Bucket opens on April 9, 2022, with an opening reception from 10AM - 6PM, and will run through April 30, 2022.
Press release courtesy Simchowitz.