The Fabric Workshop and Museum presents 'Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange'

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The Fabric Workshop and Museum presents 'Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange'
Project assistant Bennett Cafarelli works on a large-scale loom built specifically for this exhibition. The final result will be installed as a dramatic opening to the gallery. © Henry Taylor, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Nothing Change, Nothing Strange, 2023. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Fabric Workshop and Museum is pleased to present Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange, on view from March 2 to July 23. The result of an 18-month residency, the exhibition features an immersive sculptural environment that Taylor created through his continued exploration of painting and sculpture alongside his first experimentation with textiles.

Nothing Change, Nothing Strange exemplifies many of the themes that run through Taylor’s practice and investigates the boundaries that have historically divided painting and sculpture. During his residency, Taylor collaborated with the FWM studio team to assemble materials sourced from the Recycled Artists in Residency program (RAIR)––a non-profit organization focusing on the intersection of art, industry, and waste. Dissecting, merging, and mending these recycled materials has enabled Taylor to forge a previously uncharted avenue in his ever-expanding artistic process. In Nothing Change, Nothing Strange, Taylor considers the signifying potential of color and pattern, the complexity and parameters of space, and the historical persistence of oppression––illustrated by the exhibition’s very title.

“Henry has wholeheartedly embraced The Fabric Workshop’s ethos of collaboration and experimentation,” says DJ Hellerman, FWM’s Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs. “His incredible energy and willingness to open his process has resulted in an exhibition unlike any other in the history of his career as it digs deep into Henry’s thinking process and relationship with the politics embedded in material culture.”

During Taylor’s residency, FWM’s studio team custom-built an enormous loom for the artist to weave found objects. Using warp and weft—the two elemental components of weaving that allow thread to become fabric—as both literal and conceptual devices, Taylor examines how people and materials are held together, separated, and categorized both socially and systematically. The loom, displayed in the process of creating a black-on-black tartan cloth—a pattern central to Taylor’s concept—opens the exhibition and sets the stage for his installation.

Unstretched, 30-foot billowing works draped throughout the exhibition space mark Taylor’s first foray into painting of this scale—a radical and innovative use of canvas akin to the treatment of sails, flags, and scenic backdrops. The totemic sculptures created from compressed blocks of industrial refuse such as paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters carry distinct material identities and narratives as they soar into the rafters above the audience. Throughout the installation, visitors encounter the artist’s deft manipulation and investigation of eclectic materials, a voracious sourcing of diverse subjects typical of Taylor’s work.

Taylor is currently the subject of a major retrospective, Henry Taylor: B Side, on view until April 30, 2023, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which will travel to The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York later this year.

Nothing Change, Nothing Strange is organized by Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs DJ Hellerman, and Senior Project Coordinator Abby Lutz in collaboration with the artist and the FWM Studio team. The project was initiated by Karen Patterson, FWM’s former Director of Exhibitions.

Born in 1958 in Ventura, CA, Henry Taylor was initially exposed to the medium of painting through his father, who was a commercial painter at a naval air station. In junior high school, Taylor vigorously absorbed the major tenets of art historical discourse spanning the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries. Taylor later studied journalism, anthropology, and set design at Oxnard College where he made the acquaintance of James Jarvaise, the Head of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Jarvaise was instrumental in instilling the young painter with a sense of vocational efficacy that helped Taylor focus his efforts entirely on his artistic practice. Taylor’s formal training came in the 1990s, when he studied at The California Institute of the Arts while also working as a psychiatric technician at Camarillo State Mental Hospital.

Taylor has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the United States and internationally, including solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2012) and The Studio Museum in Harlem (2007). His work was also presented at the Whitney Biennial (2017) and the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Taylor’s works are held in the collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, among others. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

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