Monday, March 3, 2014

Salon: Plot Twist

After my last post here, I became very busy with finishing up new work for my annual online-only exhibition, hosted by Joe Walentini at his Galerie Cerulean. In addition to completing the work I wanted to exhibit, I also learned how to photograph it digitally with a new camera I bought for the purpose, and how to process the images in my computer. It involved a lot of hair-tearing! But I'm happy to have crossed that threshold at last, something I'd meant to take on for the last few years, while I had continued to hire out my photography.

For my project, I prepared eighteen images, although I would only need twelve for the show. So today I am presenting here the six works that I did not select for my online show, titled Plot Twist, which is on view now in the "Archive" section of the gallery; the show ran in the "Main Gallery" through April 13, 2014.

The very small painting below, oil on wood, with an attachment for hanging that was cut from an antique kid glove, is a pared-down image that has fed many of the ideas I have worked with in the last year. The undulating line has two references for me: my love of rivers and streams, and all they represent to me; and the action of sand falling in an hourglass, which is an iconic image I have been preoccupied with for the last five years.

©2013 Ravenna Taylor, "Limbo," oil on wood, (with leather and pins), 7 x 5 inches

This next piece, a watercolor on toned paper, also makes those references, while employing the game-board grid that I have enjoyed for some years; it makes oblique allusions to my preoccupation with time, and the matter of choice vs. chance.

©2013 Ravenna Taylor, "Holding Sway," watercolor, gouache on paper, 19 x 20 inches

The following piece is an oil painting on paper, using the Arches "huile," a new material for me which I have been enjoying very much. This image brings together the game board, the central flow idea, along with my pleasurable preoccupation with road signage, in particular the diamonds that give graphic indications of curves with arrows and side roads breaking off.

©2014 Ravenna Taylor, "Retort," oil on Arches "huile" paper, 22.5 x 26 inches

The next is a small oil painting on linen over wood, and was also derived from road signage.

©2013 Ravenna Taylor, "Either Way," oil on linen on wood, 5 x 7 inches

It has been observed that my new work, especially what I selected for the online exhibition, has become very involved with holding the center, which is a departure from recent years where the eye was being led around the edges. I am even reminded a bit of work I was doing in the 1990s, where my focus was very much on the meetings of edges, and particularly in grids or even one horizontal line in reference to sea and sky. (Please check out work pre-2003 on my website: click HERE.)

In this following image, my sadness after losing many trees in my area to the winds of Hurricane Sandy allowed a gestural line to be the conduit of expression. From this work, other more linear ideas developed, and I think there will be more ways of bringing linearity back into my work in the coming year.

©2013 Ravenna Taylor, "Apostrophe," oil on Arches huile paper, 22.5 x 26.5 inches

Here is the last work I finished before turning to the photography project. This is also oil on paper, and it conflates the gestural work above with the central undulating line I began with in this post. 

©2014 Ravenna Taylor, "Broken Chords," oil on Arches "huile" paper, 22.5 x 27 inches

I pared down my "statement" for the show this year. Over the years, I have grown impatient with artistic statements generally, and I would almost eliminate the whole idea of writing one at all! But to sum up this post, which invites you to visit my exhibition online, I will offer you these 85 words:

In oil paint, watercolor, or collaged torn materials, I compose pictorial abstractions. Colors and geometrical forms are derived from nature, and from my fascination with systems, as can be found in measures, time pieces, gameboards and maps.

I delight in color, harmony, patterns, and ambiguities. In haptic terms, I am more a visual composer than a gestural one, working through layering processes with material and color; but always in the end I mean to reveal the trace of my own hand, a single human existence.
©2014, Ravenna Taylor


  1. Replies
    1. Sue, thank you very much - it is heartening to know that the latest work is encouraged!


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