Magenta Plains is pleased to announce Shadow Ballers, a solo exhibition of oil paintings, drawings and sculptures by Bill Saylor. A key figure amid the vibrant Brooklyn painting scene that emerged in the early 2000s and includes artists such as Joe Bradley, Chris Martin, Katherine Bernhardt, Michael Williams, Anke Weyer, and Josh Smith, Saylor’s work is distinguished by his merging of gestural abstraction with a comprehensive personal iconography, revealing an anthropogenic concern and interest in natural history, weather patterns, and marine biology.
The title of the exhibition alludes to the millions of plastic balls the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power blanketed over local reservoirs in 2015 to mitigate the new reality of environmental crisis. To the artist, this action was an absurd, performative attempt to sweep the city’s problems under the rug as well as a dramatic salute to monumental land art of the 1960s.
Using spray paint, charcoal, photographic collage, and oil paint on canvas and industrial tarps, Saylor splatters and scrawls a cast of recurring characters and motifs exploring the significance of underground subcultures and the environment. Drawing and assemblage serve as crucial and enduring facets of Saylor’s practice, taking the form of graphite and charcoal on paper and panel, sculptures made from salvaged materials and automotive parts, and collaborative Xerox zines.
Saylor’s work recycles and reframes elements from graffiti, cave painting, and industrial production while mining the legacy of both American and European expressionism. The resulting effect amounts to an eco-scavenger sensibility, where images and surfaces are built up from the excess waste and detritus of our culture. Saylor’s post-apocalyptic beachcomber aesthetic reminds one of a world where humanity exists amid a fragile tension of creation and destruction and that our human-built culture is but one element of a much larger and complex ecosystem.