Monday, March 3, 2014

Philip Taaffe

Taaffe was born in 1955 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He studied at the Cooper Union in NewYork. He has spent a lot of time traveling internationally, especially to India, South America, the Middle East and Morocco. He had his first solo exhibition in 1982 in New York, and since then he has had many exhibitions around the United States, primarily in New York but also in Miami and Los Angeles. He has also had exhibitions internationally, in places like Naples, Berlin, and Vienna. He currently lives in New York.

Taaffe's work is sometimes labeled "conceptual abstraction".
His work has an impact because of the juxtaposition of images in his work. It can be differentiated from modernism in that moderns push forward (socially, visually, etc) through their art while Taaffe very must exists in the present; his work has less direction and more introspection.

Here are some pictures of art and materials he used to make it. I couldn't find any process drawings, but  in these you can see some pieces that filled a role similar to process drawings.

I picked Philip Taaffe because I had no idea who he is. I am also drawn to some of his work; I like the the colors and the abstract shapes. To me, some of his paintings seem to give a Celtic vibe, like the one below. Sardica II is the first painting I saw by him, and I was intrigued by the colors and the layered feeling between the shoes in the foreground and the background pattern.
Sardica II, 2013 
Mixed media on canvas
Panel with Diatoms, 2012
Mixed media on panel

Taaffe's art has been criticized as skirting "overly decorative tendency" and being little more that empty pictures. Yet, especially in his recent works, the paintings evoke deeper emotions through the patterns and symbols in the paintings. Somehow he manages to give viewers an impression of images without explicitly putting them within the paintings. In Sardica II, for example, the repeating pattern in the black and white background evokes skulls, even though there aren't any.

Panel with Diatoms, 2012
Mixed media on panel

I put this painting in because I like it. From a distance it looks simple, but the closer you get the more details you see. This painting also has the layering that is so prevalent in his art. The first time I looked at this painting, I focused on the shapes--they draw the eye. But as I was looking deeper at the painting I realized the background looked like a person with his mouth open. All of the sudden this painting took on a darker tone.

Black Earth Panel I, 2012 
Mixed media on panel 

One technique often seen in Taaffe's later work is the use of black to give form and texture to the color that was layed down as a base. You can see this in both Panel with Diatoms and Black Earth Panel I, but more so with Black Earth Panel I. The actual colors don't exactly line up with the shapes created by the black. In this way Black Earth Panel I is very simple--he only uses black paint to shade. Using only black paint allows Taaffe to again layer his work, creating an image with the texture of the black paint and allowing hime to develop a different seen underneath with the colored paint.

Art in America Sept. 2013: n. pag. Print.

Sandler, Irving. Art of the Postmodern Era: From the Late 1960s to the Early 1990s. New York: IconEditions, 1996. Print.

Philip Taaffe Official Web Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

Seidner, David, and Diana Edkins. Artists at Work: Inside the Studios of Today's Most Celebrated Artists. New York: Rizzoli, 1999. Print.

Sussler, Betsy. Speak Art!: The Best of BOMB Magazine's Interviews with Artists. New York, NY: New Art Publ., 1997. Print.

No comments:

Post a Comment