Alison Elizabeth Taylor debuts ‘marquetry hybrid’

James Cohan presents “Future Promise,” an exhibition of new work by Alison Elizabeth Taylor, on view at 48 Walker Street through October 23, 2021. This is Taylor’s sixth solo exhibition with James Cohan.

In “Future Promise,” Taylor departs from the familiar scenes of her native Southwest to reflect moments of day-to-day life around her home and studio in Brooklyn during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Anthony Cuts Under the Wburg Bridge at Sunset, Taylor depicts a stylist who, unable to work in his shuttered salon, found a way to practice his profession during the shutdown by offering haircuts en plein air under a bridge in Brooklyn.

Other paintings show more intimate moments, such as On Thinking Thoughts are Feelings, in which a pregnant woman and her partner lounge in bed. In this work, Taylor conveys a moment in which the interior landscape becomes the only world that exists. Statuary Inc., allows us to peer into the warehouse of a wholesaler of statuettes used in pursuit of spiritual practices, a glimpse of the continuing commerce of an “essential” industry observed while the city was at a standstill.

Collectively, the works in “Future Promise” comprise a love letter to the resilience of a neighborhood and a community, translated through Taylor’s empathetic and incisive eye.

In Taylor’s new works, meaning is derived from the sum of the different materials and mediums that come together to form the image. Reality is taken apart and then reconstructed rather than merely mimetic. Like Les Nabis painters at the turn of the 20th Century in France, Taylor evokes emotion rather than replicates real life.

All the works in “Future Promise” are made in a novel medium Alison Elizabeth Taylor describes as “marquetry hybrid,” which she developed by combining wood veneer marquetry with painted wood, photographic prints she shoots while sketching, and painted passages on panel. Taylor’s complex pictorial spaces often work with this visually dense medium to create a destabilizing viewing experience.

In 2022, Taylor will be the subject of her first major museum survey exhibition. Organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, this touring exhibition will open at Des Moines Art Center in October 2022 with more than 40 career-spanning works. The show will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalog published by DelMonico Books with essays by Naomi Fry, Lynne Tillman and Allison Kemmerer.

Raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Alison Elizabeth Taylor (b. 1972, Selma, AL) received her M.F.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of the Arts in 2005.

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