Tyler Shields: The Science of Colour at the Old Truman Brewery I Exhibition review
Technology is at the forefront of this vivid digital experience of colour, figures and landscape. Tyler Shields, the LA-based American celebrity photographer, has produced some controversial work in his time, often involving images of blood and violence, and this new exhibition The Science of Colour pushes the boundaries once again. It is unique in being all-digital with Shields’ photos and videos displayed on a number of Sony’s Xperia Tablet Zs. This makes it physically interactive and futuristic in feel.
The photographs and videos themselves are recognisably Shields. Figures poised both in beautiful and at times disturbing positions whilst covered in coloured paint powder in such a way that either complements or contrasts the landscape. His work is immediately compelling. This project differs from his previous shoot involving paint powders – Chromatic – as it takes place outdoors in the desert – Death Valley, California. Shields has said: “The location is what makes the photo.” Indeed the impressive process of creating the photographs in gruelling heat and at wind speeds of between 60-70mph contrasts dramatically with the surreal moments captured in the final compositions. It is certainly intriguing to watch the process behind the images on the films that play out on the bigger screen in the gallery.
There are five models in total, including one girl whom Tyler requested to have her head shaved, and compositions include them pictured all together having a red or yellow paint fight, separately as a spectacle against the all encompassing sky or in pairs dancing in the dunes. The use of the coloured powder brings feeling and definition to each photo, either merging with or diverging from the surrounding landscape and the figures. In the video footage the figures almost look like a team of red arrows releasing their different colour jets in unison.
On first impressions the exhibition might feel a bit like a Sony advert but the more time spent amongst the work, the more enjoyable it becomes. Flicking through each tablet to discover a new image or video, a new splash of colour into the desert, doesn’t feel gimmicky but rather heightens your appreciation of the imaginative and creative process that forms the ever-changing The Science of Colour.
Photos: Steve Taylor
For further information and future events visit Tyler Shields’s website here.