Britton Tolliver

United States 1976

Britton Tolliver
Britton Tolliver
United States
February 23, 2015
Music, Gestalt, .

Britton Tolliver is a dynamic contemporary artist known for his large-scale complex abstract painting. Using a self-imposed set of rules, Tolliver serially moves between gestural painting and the superimposed grid, a mediation that enables both aesthetic choice and obliteration of the image, and opens the pictorial space to dynamic – while disorienting – new layers.

Born in 1976 in Kingsport, Tennessee, Tolliver received his BFA from East Tennessee State University in 2004 and MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2006. Solo exhibitions include Moonsick at Anna Meliksetian Gallery, Los Angeles, Fixed Illusion at GOLDEN Gallery, Chicago and The Search for the Sky Underneath the Dirt at Kinkead Contemporary, Los Angeles.

Traditional training at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and an avid interest in art theory and critical writing provide a solid foundation for Tolliver’s artistic practice. Furthermore, Tolliver’s experience working for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit stands as an important introduction to the artist’s historical influences and sophisticated sense of color and abstract compositions.

Early work from the artist explores geometric slices and angular lines, suggesting an infinite layering of planes—superbly demonstrated in Tolliver’s 2008 work Militant Kite Uprising. More recently, the artist’s work combines both gestural and geometric abstraction. Evident are conceptual references to Minimalism and Constructivism through Tolliver’s use of the grid, a structure that appears serially throughout many works.

In contrast to the formal structure of the grid—explored and defined in earlier sub-movements of Modernism—Tolliver’s interpretation is created in reverse. The artist forms this structure by masking off a detailed, multi-colored under-painting, which becomes the lattice of the framework. On this, Tolliver applies a layer of opaque monochromatic paint to create the network’s interior cubes. Any sense of the grid as a restraining device is deconstructed by Tolliver’s strident and gestural brushstrokes beneath the surface, creating a sense of movement and interrupting the grid’s regularity. Boldly confident, Britton Tolliver’s paintings subvert formal positions and open up new vistas.

Britton Tolliver is currently living and working in Los Angeles, California.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Weird AtticJoshua Liner Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2014Moonsick MJ Briggs/ Anna Meliksetian Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2013Painting in Place, curated by Shamim MominLos Angeles Nomadic Division, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2013Steven Bankhead, Britton Tolliver, Torbjorn VejviSamuel Freeman Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2013The Road Luis De Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011Golden AssAnnie Wharton Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011Chain Letter curated by Christian Cummings and Doug Harveyhoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2011Baker’s DozenTorrance Art Museum, Torrance, CAGroup
2011Working TitleBronx River Art Center, Bronx, NYGroup
2010Fixed IllusionGOLDEN, Chicago, ILSolo
2010The Search for the Sky Underneath the Dirt Kinkead Contemporary, Los Angeles, CASolo
2010Meat LockerGood Children Gallery, New Orleans, LAGroup
2009(If LA changed it’s name to Miami, we’d be there)The Pink Flamingo Art Fair, Raid Projects, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009LA AbstractionKinkead Contemporary, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Group ExhibitionRichard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2009Splinter of the Mind’s Eye curated by Joseph WolinPhilip Slein Gallery, Saint Louis, MOGroup
2008Always Kiss Me GoodnightKinkead Contemporary, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008Summer Solo ProjectsKinkead Contemporary, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008Alma MaterKinkead Contemporary, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008Architecture on the Cusp of Contemporary LandscapeWilliam King Museum, Abingdon, VAGroup
2007Runaway Yachtclub Gallery, Detroit, MIGroup
2007Summer Group ShowAngell Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2007Reality BitesAngell Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2006Can I Borrow Your SpaceshipContemporary Art Institute Detroit, Detroit, MIGroup