Alison Elizabeth Taylor, is an artist known for transforming the historic technique of marquetry or wood inlay into a new form, marquetry hybrid—a novel synthesis of media and process that incorporates inlaid wood, painting, and collaged textures to create a new perspective on painting. Taylor casts a critical and compassionate eye across the breadth of contemporary American experience in works that depict the changing Southwestern landscape and the rural survivalists, hedonists, squatters, and economic misfits of late American capitalism who inhabit it. Taylor pays respect to the innate humanity of her subjects through her choice of this extraordinarily demanding medium. A native Nevadan who grew up through boom and bust cycles in Las Vegas, Taylor derives her tableaux from direct observation. There is a volatile tension between the surface and the subject; as she explains, “The natural beauty inherent in finished wood draws attention to themes more subtle or complex. The splendor of the shellacked wood is an invitation to look at subjects the viewer might otherwise ignore.”
In September 2017, Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s Reclamation, a room-sized permanent installation, opened at the Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center at the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, NYC. Reclamation is an architectural space on the verge of giving way to the forest. Taylor writes, “Nature never pauses in its race to reclaim, and innovation is the human response against this flow towards entropy. The continual churn of the cycle between nature and human endeavor stands at the core of this work.”
Raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Alison Elizabeth Taylor received her M.F.A. from Columbia University, Graduate School of the Arts in 2005. Selected solo exhibitions include: The Needle’s Eye, Zidoun & Bossuyt, Luxembourg (2019), The Backwards Forwards, James Cohan Gallery (2017); Musée Historique, Chateau de Nyon, Switzerland (2015); Surface Tension, James Cohan Gallery (2013); Un/Inhabited at SCAD, Savannah and Atlanta, GA (2010); Foreclosed, James Cohan Gallery (2010); Alison Elizabeth Taylor, James Cohan Gallery (2008); Idyll, James Cohan Gallery (2006). Important group shows include: Personal Space, Crystal Bridges Museum of America Art, Bentonville, AR (2018); Makeshift, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, WI (2018) curated by Michelle Grabner; I See Myself in You: Selections from the Collection, Brooklyn Museum of Art (2016); Crafted: Objects in Flux, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2015); First International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena, Colombia (2014); Branching Out: Trees as Art, Peabody Essex Museum, MA, (2014); BEYOND EARTH ART: Contemporary Artists and the Environment, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, NY (2014); Unfolding Tales: Selection from the Collection, Brooklyn Museum of Art (2013); Surface Value, Des Moines Art Center, IA (2011); 185th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy Museum, NY (2010). In 2009, Taylor received 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; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; ASU Art Museum, Tempe, AZ; Orlando Museum of Art Orlando, FL; John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, as well as prominent collections worldwide.
Brooklyn, New York