Al Taylor at David Zwirner
This is a fascinating show – particularly as one rarely sees post-Greenbergian abstraction done with so much visual drama. Influenced in particular by minimalism, the movement tends to be visually austere to say the least. This is not, though, a good enough reason to like Taylor’s work – but one appreciates his lightness of spirit independent of the Avant-garde move of his… peers? Taylor was born in 1948, and might be thought to have come to the game a little late, as the reaction into space had certainly begun around 1960. This is not a good enough reason to dislike it.
The show is divided into two sections. Awkwardly the earlier work is displayed upstairs at the David Zwrirner gallery, meaning one has to work backwards, stylistically and physically, to get a grasp of Taylor’s development in the mid to late 1980s. The earlier work is more concerned with an optical effect – the play of light and dark within shadow, drawing the viewer’s eye into a vortex of space. This is all good stuff. His later work abandons the optical trickery in favour of fuller investigations of space. Taylor ceases to merely break through the picture plane by extending it, but now effectively paints in, or, indeed on space. Broom handles, in different segments of colour, stand erect from the floor or protrude from the wall. These are more interesting, mainly because they draw the viewer into a spacial paradigm in which the resulting object is of greater importance than the means.
Taylor’s drawings are also included in the show, and it is interesting that he denied the separateness between drawing and sculpture, rejecting even the term sculpture altogether. His drawings have more of the optical flair of his earlier “Latin Studies”, as they are known, and though interesting in themselves, they make one appreciate the purer elegance of his late work.
Al Taylor is at David Zwirner until 29th March 2014. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.