Fraser Taylor’s Vertex conjures a visual language of contest. Moving between figuration and abstraction, the drawn line constitutes and interrogates presence and physicality, bewildering easy delineations of interior and exterior, visible form and hidden structure. Spilled pigments pool, eventually swallowing intention and, in turn, expectation. The ecstatic qualities of light and line invite a prurient anarchy and disrupt any sense of incumbent order. Taylor’s loving obsession with willowy protuberances, grotesque heads, and truncated torsos, each bereft of function and dislocated from the body, confers meaning upon the body by way of violent disfiguration. Wood, wire, yarn, and tin cloaked in black come together to form haunting obelisks, or violated phalluses, or ritual totems, to commemorate an aching anxiety. Taylor’s dialect reveals the particularities of light absorbed, refracted, and broken by matte- and gloss-black paint.
These works collectively demonstrate a fragile and sublime engagement with uncertainty. This engagement calls upon us to negotiate the vexing delineations of our perceptual registry of human forms and the allure of assignment therein. In Vertex we partake of a different social order, one in which each artwork becomes a vehicle for critical thinking. Taylor insists upon a richer diversity of possibilities, of more complex engagements, and for alternative forms of being recognized, being honored, being desired, being loved. If torment lives in these artworks it does so not to relate umbrage, but rather to suggest hope for the possibility of living in a more honest world of lovers and others.
Joshua David Riegel
Brooklyn, April 2009