Britton Tolliver’s (b.1976, Kingsport, TN) paintings blend the formal and psychological properties of abstraction. His compositions embrace the vacillation between chaos and structure.
Tolliver received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Tennessee State University and his Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Recently retired, his art continues to serve as a significant contribution to the discourse of contemporary abstraction. He has been featured in exhibitions at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles; Joshua Liner Gallery, New York; Left Field Galley, San Luis Obispo; Durden and Ray, Los Angeles; HilgerBROTKunsthalle, Vienna; Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, NY; and GOLDEN, Chicago.
Knowing what rules to break and what rules to follow is a task that many artists spend their entire careers navigating. But Britton Tolliver knows exactly what barriers to defy in his paintings. His abstract compositions are frequently built upon a grid system, but layer by layer, his biomorphic forms find themselves unrestrained and venturing outside borders. Tolliver’s application of paint also permeates the barriers of 2D and 3D. Geometric and organic shapes that extend several inches from the surface are outlined by recessed linear remnants of the grid that zip across his paintings like illuminated light strips. The result of this built-up physicality can be compared to a topographic model – valleys and plateaus of paint move across the plane like mountain ranges. But as made apparent in his prints, Tolliver’s color choices and use of contrast create dynamic spaces and impressive depth all on their own.