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Fraser Taylor
Threewalls, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Fraser Taylor, "Orchid/Dirge," installation shot at Threewalls, 2015. Photo credit: Clare Britt

Continuing through May 23, 2015

At a moment in art's history when favored abstract formalism lacks content and emotes little, Fraser Taylor does not shy away from expressiveness. The UK-born, Chicago-based artist’s exhibition “Orchid/Dirge” is the culmination of a year-long sabbatical and residency in Scotland and, as the title suggests, the theme of death is prominent. In “Scalloway,” a series of vertical banners is silk screened with Taylor’s signature combination of line drawing and color blocking. Upon entering the project space, the viewer sees only the colorful, celebratory side of the suspended banners. Later, as one  leaves the room, the flipside reveals stark, black-and-white compositions of mourning.

In the main gallery, older works of collage and oil on canvas are accompanied by a broad platform bearing a collection of spindly sculptures entitled “Black Flowers.” Haphazard assemblages of sticks, string and plaster — all painted black like their plinth — these “Black Flowers” extend upwards, like a landscape of long dead trees preserved in the acidic quagmire of a bog. Here, Taylor, through entirely non-representational means, deftly succeeds at capturing a feeling of a ritual of the living that honors remnants, that singular moment suspended between presence and absence.

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