Imogen Taylor

Thirsty Work

26 Jan — 27 Feb 2021

Thirsty Work tracks an itinerant year for Imogen Taylor, including works produced in Auckland, Dunedin, Central Otago and New York City. Responding to each of these locations and working environments, groupings appear that anchor works to each place. The figurative paintings in Thirsty Work were all produced in Tāmaki Makaurau, while the landscapes belong to Dunedin and Naseby. The smaller, suitcase-sized works were begun in New York during a residency cut short by Covid-19.

Big Splash
2021
acrylic on hessian
400 x 500mm

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Al Fresco
2021
acrylic on hessian
1140 x 1200mm

On Hold

The exhibition sees a shift from the coded abstraction of earlier paintings towards more figurative territory, without necessarily abandoning or wholly embracing either. Adopting a less strict or hierarchical attitude towards categories of representation and abstraction allows room for both to inhabit these works. It’s possible that these are failed attempts at abstracting representation, or of representing abstraction. Whether true or not, this mode has become a space for Taylor to address the queer modernist legacies that she operates in.

Window Seat
2021
acrylic on hessian
510 x 610mm

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Bud
2020
acrylic on hessian
980 x 1410mm

On Hold

In moving towards figuration it becomes impossible not to consider the gaze. The positions and images of the bodily fragments in these works are immediately recognised by queer audiences, eliciting nuanced reactions that may escape the dominant gaze. Several of these works ignite flashback gazes, moments in time encoded within a particular vision.

Pervert
2021
acrylic on hessian
510 x 610mm

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Food Pyramid
2021
acrylic on hessian
510 x 610mm

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Girl On Girl On Girl On Girl
2021
acrylic on hessian
450 x 430mm

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“Explicit queer desire as visual protest?…. maybe? The work has moved past being “straight-passing” and now aims to illuminate queer modernisms that still fail to be celebrated. It was hard to not feel protective of queer modernist legacies when modernist painting languages were being referenced by recent white supremacist provocations in the arts community and at large, threatening political and aesthetic territory that is already under assault. It made me both critically reflective and protective of what’s at stake in my work.”
Imogen Taylor

Opening Up
2020
acrylic on hessian
1140 x 1200mm

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Soft Top
2021
acrylic on hessian
510 x 610mm

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