New Zealand artist Kāryn Taylor works to capture the tangible and intangible presences of matter and light. Taylor's gestures situate themselves between sculpture and painting. Visually, the works appear to hark back to key tenets of movements such as Formalism and Minimalism. However, Taylor also engages a deeply conceptual ethos, using her art to investigate complex scientific ideas from areas such as quantum physics. Taylor's practice may be read in conversation with that of American artists who work with light and form, such as James Turrell and Larry Bell. Closer to home, the influence of artists such as Bill Culbert is possible.Read More
Taylor's research manifests itself in striking gestures of light, geometry and form. Her works are made to be observed as sculptural and painterly objects, exhibiting depth and dimension when viewed from all sides. In Taylor's 'Ambient Light Boxes', for example, translucent layers of acrylic conglomerate into slabs of pale colour. In each work, one or two geometric lines flit through the three-dimensional picture plane. These lines are embedded into the three-dimensional box form and glow to the extent that they look electrified. In Double Aspect (2016), a blue line and a yellow line dart across a cloudy acrylic form. In other works, such as Zero Point II (2016), the line is an intense orange-pink horizontal slit against a pink slab, pale at the edges. The smaller 'Ambient Light Boxes'—including Double Aspect and Zero Point II—are hung on the wall, while larger pieces lean against the wall instead. The unusual effect of these works—the electric glow held within the analogue object—allows an ethereal formalism to shine.
Utilising light's structures of reflection and refraction, Taylor explores shadow and density in two-dimensional and three-dimensional frameworks. In 'Ambient Light Boxes', lines ran in a pseudo-relief through the box form. In her 'Platonics Of a Solid' series, Taylor uses the techniques of her 'Ambient Light Boxes' to speak to three-dimensional form in shape rather than line. In 'Platonics Of a Solid' she represents murky, three-dimensional geometric forms on the picture plane. These grey forms feel likely to stretch out of their two-dimensional frame and burst into sculpture at any moment. In such work, Taylor engages with the representation of perspective and depth as it is truly experienced.
Taylor takes three-dimensionality one step further in works such as Iterations of a Single Event. In this piece, the shapes burst out of the picture plane and become objects fully situated in sculptural space. They are large, simple geometric forms made from electroluminescent wire. These outlines lean almost imperceptibly against the wall in the exhibition space, both flat and three-dimensional. Their glow reflects onto the floor, further bringing them into three dimensions while simultaneously emphasising their flat life. Indeed, by engaging with the line between sculpture and painting, if anything Taylor reveals the fluidity between solidity and absence, and three-dimensionality and flatness.
Taylor received her BFA from Massey University, Wellington, and her MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. She has held solo exhibitions and participated in group shows at institutions including Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and been selected as a finalist in the Wallace Art Award twice (2012 and 2014), as well as in the National Contemporary Art Award and the Lola Ann Tunbridge Award.
Taylor lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.
Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2018