W. Tucker | Heads in the mountains

27 Apr - 7 Jun 2020

Tayloe Piggott Gallery is pleased to present Heads in the Mountains, a new exhibition of work by artist W. Tucker. Presenting a wide range of multimedia works, this exhibition features a diverse array of found objects created over the last ten years. The title of the exhibition refers to the idea of compositional space as a supportive structure in Tucker’s work and its import in our day-to-day lives.


Throughout his work, W. Tucker creates a cast of characters in stark outlines and simplistic shapes. These drawings interact with their found-object environments and elevate the space with earnest potency. From 1 ¼-inch square antique watch-part boxes to 6-foot-high plywood panels, and antique book covers, Tucker’s found ‘canvases’ are integral to his process. The artist welcomes serendipitous ‘gifts’ in the patina of the found materials he makes his own. Upon these surfaces, Tucker layers assorted media including charcoal, watercolor, graphite, resin, ink, and oil, creating a rich palimpsest of imagery.


Elemental, perhaps, but decidedly not elementary, people, animals, and ships emerge from irregular lines drawn in constant, repetitive forms. Tucker works exclusively with his non-dominant hand, which lends his work an element of visceral, child-like honesty. There is a familiarity about the work that is both nostalgic and refreshing. Still, according to him, “the fact that I do use my left hand is relevant to me, and it’s relevant to how the work comes out, and someone might find it interesting, but I hope it’s not the most interesting thing about the work.”


W. Tucker was born in 1959 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. After graduating from NYU with a BA in drama in 1982, he struggled to find consistent work as an actor in Los Angeles. He began drawing and painting in 1986 as almost an act of fate. While living with friends in the fabled art-centric Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, he discovered a drafting table, large pads of drawing paper, and sets of oil and chalk pastels left in the house by a previous tenant. “I don’t think about it much, but I’m reminded now of how bizarre that is,” he says. Drawing and painting became a happy respite from the “frantic dismay” of auditioning. About three years into the practice, a solo exhibition dropped into his lap. Timed with the opening of the Beverly Hills Parachute storefront, a Soho-based New Wave boutique at the pinnacle of mid-eighties cool, Tucker’s first exhibition sold 17 of the 20 framed works.


W. Tucker has since exhibited all over the United States and throughout Switzerland, with solo shows in galleries and museums. His work has gained considerable traction since he moved to Austin, Texas, eleven years ago. His work has been published in volume number 67 and 102 of New American Paintings, a juried show in print. Residencies include a 1991 stay at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in Temecula, California, and the Fountainhead Residency in Miami in 2008. Tucker was awarded the 2012-2013 Austin Critics’ Table Award for Best Installation as well as Artist of the Year for his large-scale installation at Texas State University. W. Tucker lives and works in Austin, Texas.