Bernie Taupin's Solo Exhibition "Tes-ta-ment" Opens to Celebrate New East Oak Street Location

Jul 26, 2014 9:43PM

KM Fine Arts Chicago is pleased to be celebrating the opening of our new East Oak Street location with "Tes-ta-ment", a solo exhibition of works by artist Bernie Taupin.

Recognized for his long time songwriting partnership with Elton John, artist Bernie Taupin explains that his painting process is “simply the visual extension of what I have spent my life creating through words.” In 1990, Taupin began to expand his creative oeuvre beyond writing. Equipped with an acute visual sensibility and infatuation with painting, he set out to begin his career as a serious visual artist. 

The title, Tes-ta-ment, carries particular meaning for this exhibition that will serve as a retrospective of sorts, and will include works created over the last 20 years of Taupin’s career as a visual artist. In this context, “testament,” as it is often used in biblical terms, is meant to serve as an expression of his conviction to his artistic endeavors.

Taupin’s work cannot be defined by one particular style, but rather tends to hover gracefully around the canons of abstract expressionism punctuated by elements of Pop Art. He has been known to use house paint, acrylic and oil paint, wood stains, spray paint and even collaged elements in his highly expressive works, and has found that certain shapes, colors, and even painted words convey different feelings and emotions. For example, he finds that blocks and oblongs of bright color can accurately express affection. In the same way, their dark counterparts, fragmented edges and torn middles spell disturbance and pain.

His paintings, while highly emotive and imbued with particular moods, paradoxically do not aim to convey any obvious narrative. Taupin paints in such a way to invite viewers to interpret the works according to their own thoughts and experiences, and encourages viewers to attach their own perceived narratives.

Although he now lives and works on a ranch house in central California, the influence of 1960s and 1970s modernist painting is apparent in the work of Bernie Taupin, a self-described “east coast painter.” He first began frequenting art galleries and museums in the early 1970s as a way to seek solace from the chaos of New York City, and during his visits he found unexpected crossovers between the art and his own songwriting, particularly in Modernist paintings and sculptures at the Museum of Modern Art. Early in his career he found a particular kinship with artists Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Clifford Still, evidence of which can still be seen in his paintings. Since he began his painting career, Taupin’s work has been exhibited nationally, including exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles, and his work can be found in significant private collections throughout the U.S.