Dio Horia is thrilled to present Swapping Paint, a new series of paintings by Taylor McKimens. As part of Dio Horia's residency program, Taylor created this brilliant new series during his month long residency in Athens.
The show's title Swapping Paint is about coming together and exchanging ideas, like paint transfer on fenders. McKimens new body of work is a gesture towards his most recent exhibition Stoic Youth, where the artist continues to explore the same Hellenic figures, but inundates the figure, the ground and the composition with his uniquely colored experience in Athens and Mykonos, incorporating all those things he has picked up along the way.
Like the original Greek notion of stoicism, Swapping Paint is intended to have an awareness of all things, where polar opposites are acting simultaneously and many seemingly contrasting ideologies instead work together. Combining the old and the new in technique, medium, and style, the artist utilizes his inventiveness as a draftsman as a starting point to create a dynamic series that conflates the boundaries of collage, painting and drawing into single and visually complex pieces. In doing so, the exhibition showcases differing techniques that are joined together by a single subject matter and visual narrative.
McKimens approaches all the pieces in the exhibition as if they are monochrome paintings. Where colors do appear, they are directly pulled from the brilliant Myconian palette of simple reds, blues and aquas seen throughout the city. Fascinated by the uniquely Mykonos painted sidewalks, McKimens incorporates this almost abstracted folk art element of the sidewalk into his paintings and adds the discarded freddo cappuccino cup to the potted plants that adorn the paths of the city. The black and white diptych of Hellenic heads echoes the architectural landscape, where the contrast of line seem to reverberate with the movement of the stark shadows as they change throughout the day.
Complementing the elegance of the black and white paintings are the acrylic peels, where the artist begins by painting in reverse directly on clear glass, peels the composition from the glass, and then works directly onto the new surface. The resulting imagery reads as spontaneous and fresh as drawing, while continuing to explore McKimens longstanding interest in luminosity in metallics. Rather than simply using paint, the artist incorporates found items such as butterfly wings that he treats like scraps of paper, pops of color, or pigment and incorporates them into the works. No longer precious or delicate in nature, the artist preserves their opulence as they are coated in acrylic to reveal gorgeous luminescent and reflective qualities. In all the works our eyes follow the line, color and composition in a way that is perhaps as gentle and mysterious as meandering through the winding streets of the city.
Swapping Paint captures the beautiful chaos of McKimens’ experiences in a raw and animated manner that shows differing perspectives of a continuous experience. Inspired by the vibrant contemporary city that bustles above this rich historical landscape, McKimens encapsulate these energies in this new series of work. The result is as fresh, elegant and perplexing as the city in which they were created.