NEW YORK, NY.- Littlejohn Contemporary
is presenting a one-person exhibition of recent digital composite ink prints by Maggie Taylor. Through The Looking-Glass and Other Stories runs from September 4th through October 6th, 2018.
This exhibition is being presented in conjunction with the release of the artists new book published by Moth House Press, Lewis Carrolls Through the Looking-Glass, And What Alice Found There with images created by Maggie Taylor. Among the statements in his essay accompanying the book, Thomas W. Southall has written:
Taylors use of antique nineteenth-century photographic sources including anonymous daguerreotypes and tintypes imbues her imagery with a Victorian character appropriate to the setting of Carrolls narrative. Yet Taylors use of twenty-first-century digital processes and Photoshop montage techniques results in images that are simultaneously historic and contemporary.
Irony is at the core of Carrolls stories and even his use of language. Thus it is especially appropriate that Taylors use of the contradictory illusions of photographic realism combined with digital montage surrealism serves as a visual parallel to Carrolls literary methods. Perhaps more than any conventional illustrator or even Dalis energetic surrealism, Taylor has created a visual counterpoint to Carrolls writing style, not just illustrations of his story.
Embracing the concepts of invention and synthesis, her artwork is aligned more with the tradition of drawing and painting than with the documentary mode prevalent in photography.
Through her skillful use of Photoshop, Taylor combines and manipulates digital images in ways not limited by the size, color, surface and other qualities of her original sources, yet her final images still retain their obvious photographic origin.
What do you call yourself? is a good example of Taylors use of multiple pictorial and three-dimensional sources. Alice is derived from a studio daguerreotype, while the fawn is a composite made from a scan of a stuffed toy and an engraving. The red tulip and foreground ferns are direct scans from real plants picked from Taylors garden while the tree branch and leaves behind Alices head are from an engraving and distant house and trees from a conventional photographs made with a digital camera.
Taylors digital manipulations and final inkjet prints defy the traditional categories of photography, painting, drawing, and print making. Her pictures may technically be illustrations because they are derived from and accompany Carrolls stories, but they also have a life and imaginative power of their own independent of his text. Taylors Through the Looking-Glass series is a provocative set of images filled with multiple meanings and unanswered questions much like Carrolls original tales. This is a posthumous collaboration we might expect the author would have truly enjoyed.
Moth House Press provides the following about the artists recent publication, Lewis Carrolls THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS, AND WHAT ALICE FOUND THERE Illustrated by Maggie Taylor:
Lewis Carrolls beloved childrens classics Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass have been interpreted by countless artists worldwide since their original publication in 1865 and 1871. Digital image-maker Maggie Taylor brings her signature, vibrantly colored, and quirky style to the tales with the 2018 publication of her second volume. Using 21st century digital processes to elaborate on 19th century photographic portraits, Taylor recasts Carrolls Alice as a complex every woman. At times forlorn, bewildered, and stoic, Alice ultimately triumphs as a queen in her own chess game. The familiar - yet haunting - cast of characters she encounters along her journey are a marvel of visual wit and whimsy. Humpty Dumpty, Tweedles Dum and Dee, the Walrus, the Carpenter, and the Jabberwock are just a few of the more celebrated denizens of this surreal landscape.
"It's a great huge game of chess that's being played all over the world --- if this is the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it is! How I wish I was one of them! I wouldn't mind being a Pawn, if only I might join though of course I should like to be a Queen, best.
Ten years ago Taylor created a volume of 45 images accompanying Alices Adventures in Wonderland which delighted readers and art lovers of all ages and traveled to museums and galleries around the world. Now, after a four-year period of assembling her cast, including a collection of antique daguerreotypes and tintypes, the sequel has been published by Moth House Press. This new series of 64 images, which defy the categories of photography, painting, drawing and print-making, is imbued with a sense of history and delight.
Its a poor sort of memory that only works backward.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1961, Taylor spent countless hours as a child in the company of books, Barbies, and television sitcoms. After receiving a degree in Philosophy from Yale and a Masters degree in Photography at the University of Florida, Taylor worked for over ten years as an exhibiting fine art still-life photographer. An early adapter of digital technology, Taylor has created exquisitely-crafted inkjet prints of her work since the late 1990s. With the use of a flatbed scanner and a variety of small cameras, she conjures up a stage-like world of unsettled magic, piling mysterious layer upon layer. At times images are comprised of several hundred layers. The final result is a visually coherent, painterly image that allows the anonymous antique photographs to tell a new story. In this recycled world of unsettling juxtapositions there are no neat conclusions or resolutions: each image opens a new set of questions and possibilities.
Sometimes Ive believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Maggie Taylors digital composites have been widely exhibited and have been collected by many museums including the following: The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; The George Eastman House, Rochester; Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville; Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas; The High Museum, Atlanta; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans; The Art Museum, Princeton University; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland; The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; and The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara.
The artists work is featured in Adobe Photoshop Master Class: Maggie Taylor's Landscape of Dreams, Peachpit Press, Berkeley, 2005; Solutions Beginning with A, Modernbook Editions, Palo Alto, 2007; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Modernbook Editions, Palo Alto, 2008; Album, Edizioni Siz, Verona, Italy, 2009; and No Ordinary Days, University Press of Florida, 2013.
This is the artists first solo exhibition at Littlejohn Contemporary, New York.