Charline Tyberghein: many drops make a puddle at Castor Gallery

Charline Tyberghein
many drops make a puddle
Castor Gallery
Enclave 1, 50 Resolution Way, London
3 December 2020 — 13 March 2021
All images copyright and courtesy of the artist(s) and the gallery

Castor presents ‘many drops make a puddle’, Antwerp-based painter Charline Tyberghein’s debut London exhibition.

A baseball, pair of pants, a pretzel, the internet explorer logo are just some of the symbols used within Tyberghein’s paintings. In this new series of works, these small silhouetted icons sit in a border framing the floating central motif, perhaps confronting us with some form of code to unlock the piece.

speech bubble + bone = jug

Black and cream checks suggest the table cloth of a local café. A light brown interwoven pattern reminiscent of the chair I recently picked up from a second-hand furniture shop. The curved- topped custard and stained mahogany shapes could belong to the interior of a smoke-filled members club of yesteryear.

rain drop + dice = jug

The first thing you’re confronted with when looking at Tyberghein’s paintings is the surface: whether looking at them from a matter of inches away or via the glow of a back-lit display, it’s hard to believe there isn’t some form of relief coming away from the wooden panel. Executed using a trompe l’œil technique, the forms appear from their patterned surface as if the viewer is standing looking down on a vacuum form machine, where the fabric is sucked tight to reveal a loose essence of the object beneath.

fish + leaf = jug

The relationship between analogue and digital is particularly interesting within these paintings. The symbols hint at elements of our everyday that we take for granted, the patterns suggesting soft furnishings and surfaces around the home. In contrast, the painted drop shadows and the way the glitchy background distorts feel like they’ve been lifted from a photoshop layout. It wouldn’t be hard to believe we were in fact within a computer-generated facsimile of our reality.

tips of thumb and index fingers touch to say everything is okay + telephone = jug

The longer we study the work, the more we might wonder whether Tyberghein is inviting us to unravel a code at all, or perhaps simply providing a graphical key of the comfort in the familiar. Is that a jug or a cyberpunk robotic lion? Is that other one crying? Pareidolia-fuelled sweats ensue. Is the everyday really so menacing?