Spirit Animal

Public Reception

September 13, 2014

Exhibition Dates

September 13, 2014 - October 11, 2014

SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS is pleased to present Spirit Animal, an exhibition of work by NY based artist David Ellis and CA based artist Kevin Earl Taylor.

Taylor’s paintings depict stark, surreal landscapes that seem like moments frozen in time. Animals and animal parts confront the viewer and each other, forms tied together by a common visual thread or somehow fused into one another and their surroundings. Some portrayals are lighter and incorporate abstract geometric stratospheres within the natural landscape, bringing to question the nature of animals and whether or not our perception of them as being so different from us is valid. The larger, earlier works are tense, forcing the viewer to consider where or how the human exists within this scene and using the absence of a human subject to question whether or not human presence would have a positive or negative effect.

Ellis’ paintings also incorporate natural landscapes and makes use of animals as the main protagonists. However his work conveys a sense of movement, energy and flow that is a direct contrast to Taylor’s arrested, anthropomorphic figures. Ellis draws from his surroundings, using what he knows and what is familiar and then incorporating what he feels, what he sees, and what he hears. He is heavily influenced by music and is swept up in the dynamics and constantly changing beat of life. Growing up in rural North Carolina and currently living in Woodstock, NY, Ellis intertwines the landscape and its animals with his own internal ebb and flow. The loudness of a free and natural rhythm and the looseness of a fluid stream of consciousness is depicted through gestural and graphic renditions of smoke clouds or undulating waves weaving their way in an out of wooded scenery and the mouths of predators.

Both Taylor and Ellis find ways to incorporate the environment that humanity has continuously distanced itself from and both remix their own spirit back into the portrayal. Ellis builds out his signature patterns and swirls and paints himself into the work. Taylor depicts an eerily distant scene, ultimately asking questions about relationships. He evokes the symbiotic relationship of humanity versus the rest of the world while also asking how we can possibly define our priorities without taking into consideration those of the world we depend on. Taylor’s presentation of beautiful self-sustaining ecosystems and cephalopods on pedestals beg the question of life versus art and to define the difference between the two. Ellis’ stereo producing trees and animals howling graphic rays depict the similarities between us and them and the free flowing necessity to engage in animalistic behavior and perhaps embrace the rhythmic, and sometimes tense dance, between what is natural and what is constructed.

Spirit Animal will be on view at SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS through October 11th.

David Ellis (B. 1971 in Raleigh, North Carolina) received a BFA from the Cooper Union. He came to prominence in the early 2000s as the unofficial founder of the renowned Barnstormers, an art collective known for public projects in small-town communities in the American South. In recent years, Ellis has received commissions to create works for Times Square Alliance and his work is in international collections such as the Charles Saatchi Collection, Margulies Collection, and Deutsche Bank. Ellis has conducted public projects at MOCA, MoMA, Deitch Projects, and Mattress Factory; his work has been included in such notable exhibitions as Animated Painting, San Diego Museum of Art (2007); Greater New York, P.S.1/M.O.M.A. (2005); and Beautiful Losers, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati (2004).

Kevin Earl Taylor (B. 1972 in Charleston, South Carolina) lives and works in San Francisco, California. In 1995 he received a B.F.A. from The Savannah College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited and published throughout the US, as well as internationally. Though primarily an oil painter, he also explores time based art forms such as sound and video. Taylor has illustrated for record labels and various publications, including a T.C. Boyle short story “A Good Home” for Playboy magazine.

I attempt to expose the animal within.  Much of that which is assumed to be chaotic and incomprehensible within the human paradigm can be clarified through the observation that we, like all organisms are bound first and foremost by natural law.  Over time, civil responsibility has ordered a physical detachment from nature, however a deeper mental architecture remains intact.  It is this power play with which we struggle internally.  I take interest in formulating a parody, amplifying an analysis, and offering visual depiction of this all at once grotesque, lovely, and hilarious production.  – Kevin Earl Taylor

Exhibiting Artists

David Ellis
Kevin Earl Taylor