CB1 Gallery is pleased to present the Los Angeles solo exhibition debut of Craig Taylor, Essence, transference, no cigarettes. Taylor continues his investigations of painting and drawing offering both the aesthetic experience arrived at through historical approaches to abstraction and the interplay of image associations. Subject matter appears, dissolves, and reemerges into a broader meditation on the nature of abstraction and the painted object as emotive. For this show these investigations also are brought into the third dimension as sculptures.
In Essence, transference, no cigarettes, the figurative and specifically portraiture as a format, is coming to the surface and making an appearance. Craig Taylor displays an acute awareness of the conventions and limitations of both abstraction and representation. Chunks of image and figures float to the surface and create their own vernacular of signs and marks. A narrative unfolds through an understanding of how the painting is made. Erotic serenity and clarity of thought collide with scatological playfulness, and the historical role of abstraction.
Taylor’s influences are as diverse as Henri Matisse and Carroll Dunham, Joan Mitchell, and Peter Saul, all of whom provide a context for the gestures and marks that coalesce and fragment in these paintings, forming and reconstituting moments of pictorial and narrative legibility. Taylor’s work is freighted with a 20th century American concern for the role and nature of abstract painting it is simultaneously buoyed by a romantic touch rooted in 19th century French tradition. The space in the work is alternately atmospheric and descriptive, immediate and subtle, with painterly insouciance tempered by the presence of Surrealist grotesqueries and aggressive structural devices. Loose, luminous areas come to coexist with opaque graphic forms. Poetic and ruminative without being bound to tradition, funny and knowing without being defined by the rhetoric of postmodernism, the works are stylish and relevant without being subject to the whims of art world fashion.
Craig Taylor received his BFA from Maine College of Art and his MFA from Yale University. He has had solo shows at Sue Scott Gallery and March Gallery in New York, La Montagne in Boston, and Test: Showroom, Berlin. Taylor has been included in numerous group exhibitions at various galleries among them CTRL Gallery, Houston, Texas; 106 Greene, Brooklyn, New York; Bakalar and Paine Galleries, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, Fred [London], Leipzig, and CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles. Taylor is an Assistant Professor of painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and has previously taught at Massachusetts College of Art, Pratt, Brandeis University, and Yale University. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Providence, Rhode Island.