Returning to Chicago after a year-long sabbatical and residency in Scotland, Fraser Taylor will present two bodies of work in Orchid/Dirge: a site-specific realization of his sculptural installation Black Flowers (2009-2011) and an installation of new work, Scalloway, developed during his residency at Wasps Studios.
Taylor’s work cuts across disciplines, with a history in textile and fashion design, as well as painting, sculpture and set-design. His new exhibition at Threewalls reveals these intersecting sensibilities, embarking on an installation of his sculpture series, Black Flowers alongside the new printed work, Scalloway.
Stretching throughout the main gallery, what Fraser describes as “three-dimensional drawings,” create a constellation of freestanding sculptures, positioned in close but varying proximity to one another. Using wood, plaster, wire, yarn, and coating them in black to unite the materials, Taylor makes manifest his infatuation with loss and the prevalence of accelerated life processes in modern society.
Taken as individual items or collectively, the sculptures are precarious and vulnerable, with some standing erect and others seemingly caught in various stages of entropy. These works collectively create a garden or landscape that demonstrate a fragile and sublime engagement with uncertainty.
In the project room, Taylor’s work Scalloway was developed out of his recent residency at Wasps Studios, a residency located in three dramatically different geographies in Shetland, Fife and Glasgow – each with contrasting social contexts.
The work he produced during this year was rooted in drawing. In preference to brush or pen Taylor tended to draw with twigs of various sizes dipped into black ink. The resultant blunting of facility produced an inconsistent, fractured or broken line. Such unpredictability of effect has been central to Fraser’s aesthetic. The images forged through his open-ended practice of experiment and improvisation draw equally on observation, memory and association. Landscape and body act as metaphors, their meanings located somewhere in the interstices between figuration and abstraction.* On his return to Chicago Taylor used these drawings to motivate a new body of silkscreened cloths. This work embraces a reappearance of color, a conflict to Black Flowers.
Scottish by birth, Fraser Taylor’s art and design work has been exhibited throughout the United States and United Kingdom, as well Australia and Japan. He was included in 80s Fashion from Club to Catwalk at The Victoria and Albert Museum (2013); worked in collaboration with Rashaun Mitchell on the production design for Interface, presented at the Baryshnikov Art Center, New York and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2012-13); and has two upcoming solo shows: Shadowed Valley at Bonhoga Gallery, Shetland Arts, Shetland, Scotland and Bodies of Work at The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, Glasgow, Scotland (2015). His work has been included in multiple publications on fashion, design and textiles including Street Style, British Design in the 80s by Catherine McDermott and 1980s Fashion Prints by Marnie Fogg. Taylor’s work is numerous private, institutional and corporate collections. Since 2001 Taylor has taught in the Fiber and Material Studies Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Throughout the 1980s Taylor was a principal in The Cloth, an interdisciplinary design studio that designed textiles for clients in the fashion industry, including Paul Smith, Yves Saint Laurent and Bill Blass, as well as producing their own ready-to-wear collection sold in Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Fred Segal, Isetan, Seibu, Browns, Harrods and Liberty of London.
**”The Between Space” by Dr. Ian Massey, for Taylor’s exhibition at The Briggait Project Space, Glasgow, January 2014, titled “Figure/Ground.
Watch Taylor’s collaboration with choreographer Rashaun Mitchell.