JAMES TAILOR AFTER MAGRITTE, 2016 PHOTOGRAPHY & BODY ART
Using a sculptural approach to painting, James Tailor has developed a technique of mixing acrylic medium with paint, creating sheet-like forms that can be used to envelope, drape, conceal, or expand existing objects. He takes found objects and re-appropriates their history to form new narratives or create new forms from blank canvases destined for traditional paintings. The majority of Tailorâ€™s work is concerned with finding his own language or direction within painting verging into sculpture and installation â€“ communicating within a practice and tradition where almost everything has already been done.
NAILED I, 2015
ACRYLIC PAINT, NAILS & WOOD 48 x 35 x 16 cm RIGHT
STARS MULTIPLIED, 2017
CLEAR ACRYLIC MEDIUM, GLITTER, CANVAS & STRETCHER 35 x 27 x 8 cm
These works are an exploration into the materiality of paint. By creating sheets of pure acrylic paint without canvas, Tailor will manipulate the works, sometimes creating more figurative results which resemble known objects or motifs. The sheets are then stapled to the canvas and stretcher, bringing the work back to painting. Some of the pieces could function as maquettes, providing space to explore the possibility of larger ideas or artworks.
INTERFERENCE ACRYLIC PAINT, CANVAS & STRETCHER 30 x 25 x 6 cm LOWER LEFT
FALLING SIDEWAYS, 2017 ACRYLIC PAINT & STRETCHER 33 x 20 x 6 cm UPPER CENTRE
ACRYLIC PAINT, CANVAS & STRETCHER 31 x 26 x 6 cm LOWER CENTRE
CRÃˆME ET NOIR , 2017
ACRYLIC PAINT, CANVAS & STRETCHER 31 x 25 x 7 cm
CLEAR MEDIUM, CANVAS & STRETCHER 31 x 30 x 6 cm
ACRYLIC PAINT, CANVAS & STRETCHER 34 x 28 x 7 cm
This work is a natural extension of Tailor’s experiments with casting and his preoccupation with works in transit or storage. When accepting delivery of two canvases, the artist was struck by the way the canvases were stuck together and wrapped them precisely as they were delivered, using acrylic sheets cast from bubble wrap. Tailor’s work often highlights or utilises overlooked or everyday objects and this work is an example of this. The “masking tape” is also made of paint. In this way the work is subversive yet subtle, turning the traditional elements of a painting literally inside out and resulting in a conceptual work that invites conversation.
CLEAR MEDIUM, PIGMENT, CANVAS & STRETCHERS 48 x 35 x 16 cm
One of the interesting qualities of Tailor’s “bubble-wrap” sheets is the possibilities they present. In this new series the artist merges prints of classical paintings by Bartholomeus van de Helst with a contemporary approach, resulting in a pixellation resembling an impressionistic abstraction of the original works. The series is concerned with the repackaging and the production of paintings as a process as well as connecting to the artists body of work titled Food Bank which is an explorative musing on power. There is a third, larger piece in this series which is currently in production.
UNTITLED I & II, 2018
PRINTS ON WOOD, CLEAR MEDIUM PIGMENT & CARDBOARD 96 x 70.5 x 10 cm X 2
‘‘This work was created from using acrylic paint sheets, no canvas, epoxy resin and found materials. Tailor likes using found objects which have come to the end of their purpose into his work giving them new life. This is the first in a series born from a personal place for Tailor. Tailor started making this work after his fathers death Having left paint in a Tupperware tub, he returned to find it had dried into a skin. “It was so interesting… Paint has always been in my work in some way. It’s always been the foundation.” His work is a response to the death of his father. Though the relationship had been strained, in the final hours of his father’s life, the two had their first honest and open conversation. “Death can be grief and sorrow but for me it wasn’t like that,” he says, “it was the first time I got to connect with my dad. To hold his hand. It was the first time he held my hand. I never felt that was possible before.” Though in 3-dimensions, Tailor’s work speaks heavily to the materials of paintings, namely wood and paint. He still thinks of his work as painting, composed in space rather than on canvas. And for this installation, Held My Hand, he references death scenes in classical works by the likes of Velazquez and eagle-eyed viewers may spot a black square mounted up high in the gallery’s corner as a nod to Malevich’s Black Square of 1915. But Tailor wears his art historical references lightly, eager to create work that is accessible. In this vein, the viewer finds anthropomorphism here, an arrangement of legs and arms with emotion rooted in a tilt or a flick.’’
— Central Saint Martins website.
THE SMALL THINGS, 2017 ACRYLIC PAINT, EPOXY RESIN WOOD & FOUND OBJECTS 165 x 130 x 125 cm
This playful piece uses objects to create figurative sculptures. It is part of a wider group of explorative works concerned with configuration.
PIECE OF WORK, 2017
MIX MEDIA 100 x 60 x 40 cm
This is a 400cm x 400cm sheet of paint, affixed inside two easels. It is one of several works in which James Tailor uses the traditional elements of painting in an unconventional, thoughtful way. The easels themselves were given to Tailor by the art department at Central Saint Martins, having sat broken and overlooked for some time. They carry the markings of a life well used, from paint splashes to the name “Dali” on the front of one of the easels. In this way the resulting work carries a sense of both personal and painting history, and can be viewed as Surrealism in three dimensions.
NAILED II, 2015
ACRYLIC PAINT & NAILS 48 x 35 x 16 cm RIGHT
ACRYLIC & EASELS II, 2016 ACRYLIC PAINT & EASELS 150 x 68 x 10 cm
A much earlier work, Acrylic Paint, Canvas and Stretcher, is one of Tailor’s first three dimensional objects using paint, canvas and stretcher. Made with the use of a cast, this work takes on a high level of detail and reconfigures the prototypical elements of traditional painting while the use of white is in keeping with Tailor’s focus on the overlooked or unobserved. The use of the Venus de Milo comments on the practice of reproduction and iconography within art. On first viewing the work appears to be simply another representation of a famous work however Tailor’s extensive experimentation with paint and the boundaries of painting ensure the work is structured and presented in a manner that has not be seen before. The result is again both figurative and conceptual, explicitly inviting debate as to the parameters of both painting and sculpture.
ACRYLIC PAINT, CANVAS & STRETCHER, 2014 ACRYLIC PAINT, CANVAS & STRETCHER 106 x 24 x 30 cm
Broke Not Broken is a work which captures a moment of impact. The transparency of Tailors acrylic paint medium “cling film” both illuminates and obscures the impasto painting inside the damaged art crate. This piece functions as a snapshot – the tension of the wrapping highlighting the violence of the break; in this way the work challenges the traditional presentation of painting and notions of damage or functionality. It is a visual representation of the space between painting and sculpture, balancing on the gallery wall and floor at the same time.
BROKE NOT BROKEN, 2017
CLEAR ACRYLIC MEDIUM, WOODEN CRATE, & ACRYLIC PAINT ON WOOD INSIDE 170 x 100 x 40 cm
Mixed media work created as part of the University of the Arts London & Tokyo University of the Arts Global Arts Project located in Ritsurin Gardens, Japan. For this piece James Tailor took the traditional custom of bringing either a rock or a plant as a gift for a Japanese garden. Tailor found it interesting how easily a conversation can change if one word is lost in translation in this instance the word was rock.
For the project I looked into the history of the garden and its customs. I found it interesting that people would bring a rock or a plant to the garden as a gift, something that would then be located in the garden, this formed the basis of my idea. I wanted to bring a gift from Englandâ€™s Garden, Kent and more particularly Margate, a British seaside town. I have constructed elements from my memory of childhood times at the seaside, a time when Margate and similar seaside towns were bustling with people and there was a lack of political correctness. I kept my piece in English as my time in Japan made me realise that although there are some differences many things donâ€™t need language to be understood.
THE BRITISH ARE COMING, 2015 MIXED MEDIA RITSURIN GARDENS, JAPAN 350 x 200 x 270 cm
James Tailor is an artist born in London. He has recently graduated with an MA in Fine Art from UAL Central Saint Martins and is a winner of the Helen Scott-Lidgett Prize. He currently based at ACME Studios in Stratford and his work as a painter is concerned with the materiality of paint, testing its physical constraints through stretching, sculpting, twisting, wrapping and cutting. He is fascinated by the space in between painting and sculpture.
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