February 28 - March 23, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 28, 6:00–9:00pm
Coldstream Fine Art is pleased to present Happy Tyme, a new series of work by Toronto-based street artist Mr. Hydde. Working in his unmistakable style of picturescapes saturated with fluorescent colour, adorned with patchworks of words and detailed with chaotic geometries, Hydde sketches out a sardonic critique of happiness—both its heights and its depths. As always, he subverts this apparently simple topic in various ways, leading us down unexpected paths in order to discern the origins of this primal, inarticulable and universal feeling.
Prominent in this series are portraits of otherworldly beings rendered in Mr. Hydde’s trademark psychedelic (and almost irradiated) palette. He plays with form, resolving facial features with simplified shapes and generating fantastical images that encourage close appreciation. The free-floating teeth in the titular painting cast shadows onto the rest of the head, which even appears to have a jawbone, cheekbones and eye sockets. Everything appears to be tugging in a separate direction, energized by the various patterns, but the image projects cohesion—a smiling face in the midst of a tempest.
Beyond the technique, the subject matter is a crucial facet of Hydde’s approach, allowing him to enunciate his views on the feeling of happiness. He shows us multiple ways to get there, from the numbing (television) to the freeing (walking naked through the park) to the cathartic (giving someone the finger) and at the same time draws out an impressive and complex emotional range from his wildly smiling figures. While appearing carefree and comical, the work besheathes a serious line of questioning concerning the means and ends of this elusive happiness; what seems to be the simple joy of Happy Tyme is shown to be anything but.