Keith Tyson

Keith Tyson bigraphy, stories - British artist

Keith Tyson : biography

23 August 1969 –

Keith Tyson (born August 23, 1969) born Keith Thomas Bower, Mead Carney Fine Art. Retrieved 9 June 2012. is a British artist. In 2002, he was the winner of the Turner Prize. His work is concerned with an interest in generative systems, and an embrace of the complexity and interconnectedness of existence. Tyson works in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing and installation.


The Artmachine Iterations

Only a fraction of the instructions issued from the Artmachine were realised as artworks (the Artmachine generated around 12,000 proposals which are still unmadeBarrell, ‘Rising to the equation’), but many of the playful and inventive mixed media works that were created include a twenty-four foot painting made from bathroom sealant, and a painting of a hangman’s noose using toothpaste and music CDs.

History Paintings

Each of the paintings in this series consists of 49 identical strips, coloured with red, green or black aluminium powder, depending on what the roulette wheel instructed Tyson to paint. Three large-scale works are named after cities with famous casinos, together with momentous years of social upheaval in their history (e.g. St Petersburg 1905), while 12 smaller calendar works are named after locations of casinos together with a month of the year.

Large Field Array

Described by Walter Robinson as ‘nothing less than a complete Pop cosmology,’ Large Field Array comprises 300 modular units, most formed from into implied 2-foot cubes; the cubes are arranged into a grid occupying both the floor and walls of a gallery when installed. Each highly crafted cubic sculpture represents a unique yet highly recognizable feature of the world, from popular culture to natural history. Sculptures as diverse as a representation of American billionaire Donald Trump’s wedding cake, a chimney with a bird on top of it with a satellite dish, and a chair made of skeletons, were all constructed and arranged. The installation invited the viewer/participant to negotiate his or her own path through a seemingly random assortment of images and ideas, echoing the mental processes which create free associations between disparate phenomena which so fascinate Tyson.

The Nature Paintings (2005–2008)

A mixture of paints, pigments and chemicals are allowed to interact in specific ways upon an acid primed aluminium panel. The combined processes of gravity, chemical reaction, temperature, hydrophobia and evaporation simultaneously conspire to create surfaces reminiscent of a wide range of natural forms and landscapes. In this respect, the paintings seem to be depict nature, but they are also created by nature as well.

Large Wall Drawings (1997–2007)

Collectively these works on paper represent Keith Tyson’s sketchbook or journal. Each ‘Wall Drawing’ is made on a sheet of paper measuring 158 cm x 126 cm, the same dimensions as a small wall in Tyson’s original studio where he used to draw-up notes. Over the years these sheets have recorded his ideas, emotional tone and mood, visits people made to the studio, world events and even economic fluctuations. They are often exhibited in large non-chronological grids to form solid walls of diverse images, and text.

Early life

Bower moved to Dalton-in-Furness when he was four, adopting his stepfather’s Christian name Tyson. He showed an interest in and talent for art at an early age, having been inspired by his "very creative and enthusiastic" primary school art teacher. However he left school at the age of 15 without qualifications, and took employment as a fitter and turner with VSEL (Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd., now BAE Systems) in Barrow-in-Furness.

In 1989, he began an art foundation course at the Carlisle College of Art, and the following year he moved south to take up a place on experimental Alternative Practice degree at The Faculty of Arts and Architecture, University of Brighton (1990–1993).