Video by Dion Tan for ArtInfo: Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Vetreran of Veneer 24/10/13
Brooklyn-based, Las Vegas native Alison Elizabeth Taylor has become well-known for reinvigorating the Renaissance craft of marquetry, or intarsia wood inlay. Recently, after working within the boundaries of the limited palette afforded by natural woods, Taylor now mashes marquetry and paint in unprecedented ways creating a new perspective on painting.
Alison Elizabeth Taylor has become well-known for reinvigorating the Renaissance craft of marquetry, or intarsia wood inlay. Recently, after working within the boundaries of the limited palette afforded by natural woods, Taylor now mashes marquetry and paint in unprecedented ways creating a new perspective on painting. Taylor explains, “What interests me is a new type of surface created by the contrast of the textural qualities of the wood and the depth afforded by the paint. I found this tension was just what I needed to convey the otherworldly feeling I encountered in real life when I observed how nature adapts and mutates to accommodate encounters with the ever-encroaching urban environment.”
In Taylor’s earlier work, marquetry, a medium typically associated with wealth and power, is used to portray dystopian scenes of everyday life. Taylor creates tension between the luxurious connotations of the material and a certain abjectness in subject matter. As Taylor explains, “The tension between the subject and surface of the finished wood is what compels me. I use wood veneer to depict scenes, places, and people that are not typically represented in the medium. The natural beauty inherent in finished wood draws attention to themes more subtle or complex. A viewer can find dual associations with the opulence of Louis XIV and the squalor of wood laminate living. The splendor of the shellacked wood is an invitation to look at subjects the viewer might otherwise ignore.”
Raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Alison Elizabeth Taylor received her M.F.A. from Columbia University, Graduate School of the Arts in 2005. Important solo and group shows include: 2015, solo exhibition Musée Historique, Chateau de Nyon, Lake of Geneva, Switzerland; 2014, First International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena, Colombia curated by Berta Sichel; 2013, Unfolding Tales: Selection from the Collection, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Surface Tension James Cohan Gallery; 2012, Against the Grain, at Mint Museum, NC and Museum of Art and Design, NY; 2011, Surface Value, Des Moines Art Center and American Gothic: Alison Elizabeth Taylor and Aaron Spangler, SECCA, NC; 2010, Un/Inhabited at SCAD, Savannah and Atlanta and Foreclosed, James Cohan Gallery and 185th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy Museum, New York, NY; 2009, The College of Wooster Art Museum, OH; 2008, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, James Cohan Gallery; 2006 Idyll, James Cohan Gallery. In 2009, Taylor received both a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and the Smithsonian's Artist Research Fellowship Program Award. Taylor lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Taylor’s work is included in the public collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas as well as prominent collections worldwide.