Taylor’s paintings depict stark, surreal landscapes that seem like moments frozen in time. Animals and animal parts confront the viewer and each other, forms tied together by a common visual thread or somehow fused into one another and their surroundings. Some portrayals are lighter and incorporate abstract geometric stratospheres within the natural landscape, bringing to question the nature of animals and whether or not our perception of them as being so different from us is valid. The larger, earlier works are tense, forcing the viewer to consider where or how the human exists within this scene and using the absence of a human subject to question whether or not human presence would have a positive or negative effect.
Ellis’ paintings also incorporate natural landscapes and makes use of animals as the main protagonists. However his work conveys a sense of movement, energy and flow that is a direct contrast to Taylor’s arrested, anthropomorphic figures. Ellis draws from his surroundings, using what he knows and what is familiar and then incorporating what he feels, what he sees, and what he hears. He is heavily influenced by music and is swept up in the dynamics and constantly changing beat of life. Growing up in rural North Carolina and currently living in Woodstock, NY, Ellis intertwines the landscape and its animals with his own internal ebb and flow. The loudness of a free and natural rhythm and the looseness of a fluid stream of consciousness is depicted through gestural and graphic renditions of smoke clouds or undulating waves weaving their way in an out of wooded scenery and the mouths of predators.
Both Taylor and Ellis find ways to incorporate the environment that humanity has continuously distanced itself from and both remix their own spirit back into the portrayal. Ellis builds out his signature patterns and swirls and paints himself into the work. Taylor depicts an eerily distant scene, ultimately asking questions about relationships. He evokes the symbiotic relationship of humanity versus the rest of the world while also asking how we can possibly define our priorities without taking into consideration those of the world we depend on. Taylor’s presentation of beautiful self-sustaining ecosystems and cephalopods on pedestals beg the question of life versus art and to define the difference between the two. Ellis’ stereo producing trees and animals howling graphic rays depict the similarities between us and them and the free flowing necessity to engage in animalistic behavior and perhaps embrace the rhythmic, and sometimes tense dance, between what is natural and what is constructed.
David Ellis & Kevin Earl Taylor "Spirit Animal"
Subliminal Projects, LA
September 13th - October 11th, 2014
Opening reception: Saturday, September 13 · 8-11 pm