Thom Mayne: Constructing the Spontaneous

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.   

Installation view, ‘Constructing the Spontaneous’ at the Paul Kyle Gallery in Vancouver, BC. Image courtesy Paul Kyle Gallery
10 February to 6 April 2024
Paul Kyle Gallery
4-258 East 1st Ave (Second Floor)
V5T1A6 Vancouver, BC
Paul Kyle Gallery
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