Tyler Jafelice

Painting of crashed cars, painted in whites and blacks with a patch of green at top left.

Lift Me Up
Acrylic on canvas

Photo of Tyler Jafelice

Tyler Jafelice

Artist biography

I was born and raised in London, Ontario. I am Minoring in English at Western alongside my BFA studies. My other creative endeavours include concert photography and songwriting.

With my body of work, I raise questions about what it means for a piece to be abstract or for one to be representational: where is the line, and who gets to decide it?

A phrase that would best describe the concept behind my early paintings is foreign forms comprised of familiar shapes. These works derive a lot from abstract expressionism with their immediate gestures and chaotic compositions. The surface of my paintings often moves between light washes of colour and thick-bodied paint application. Although my works are mainly abstract, much of the imagery and textures in my pieces pull from nature in the way they resemble water, viscera, or sediment. With my paintings, I create works that convey something both the viewer and I have never seen while referencing things we have seen all our lives.

I primarily use a palette knife in my work so I can create broad fluid gestures. The palette knife also allows for unpredictable yet organic shapes to occur on the canvas, which is another quality of my work that lends itself to nature. I often move the palette knife in broad cyclical motions across the canvas or crape its edge flat against the canvas to add tint to the canvas’ texture. Another technique that is common in my work involves blowing on wet clusters of paint to create explosive of colour on the canvas.

During my time in practicum, I have expanded my abstract expressionist approach by working more figuratively. I have been experimenting with the observation of objects and rooms and conveying them through palette knife paintings. I’ve been using my fluid textures and broad motions to render man-made objects such as automobiles or debris. I have focused on depicting metalworks in my painting because the palette knife shifts their rigid structure into a more fluid form—obscuring their materiality. These observational works toe the line between the figurative and the abstract, thus involving more than one image. These newer works inverted my initial goal: My abstract expressionist works deal with foreign forms comprised of familiar shapes, while my observational abstract works deal with familiar forms comprised of foreign shapes. My work has begun to explore the relationship between these two phrases.

My paintings challenge the definitions of abstract and representational art by merging the two.

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Acrylic on canvas

Painting of a crumpled car in blue, black, and white.
Painting of a pile of garbage below a blue sky.

Acrylic on canvas

Photo of the artist's studio with paintings spread across a desk for review.

Inside the artist's studio

This is a photo of the canvas works in my studio. The two large paintings on the bottom are examples of my work early in the year, while the canvases on the shelf show my later work.