Al Taylor
Early Paintings

Trained as a painter, Al Taylor (1948-1999) is best known for his three-dimensional constructions incorporating everyday materials, such as broomsticks, hula hoops, Plexiglas, and fishing floats, as well as his related drawings and prints.


Taylor created paintings until 1985, when he began making three-dimensional works. Borrowing from disparate styles, these canvases do not fit into any one category, but rather reveal a playful tension between flatness and depth, figuration and abstraction that is wholly Taylor's own. For the poet and critic John Yau, these virtually unknown canvases are a canny response to the painterly schisms of the time. He writes, "Taylor found a way to embrace divergent and even antagonistic impulses, and build upon them; this was his way of going forward...He never sought the easy way out."


This exhibition—the first to focus exclusively on Taylor's paintings—is a rare opportunity to see a selection of works made between 1971 and 1980 which have never been shown before.


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Al Taylor
Al Taylor
Breakman, 1978
32 x 26 1/8 inches (81.3 x 66.4 cm)
Al Taylor
Mendoza, 1980
82 3/4 x 42 inches (210.2 x 106.7 cm)
Al Taylor
Untitled, c. 1977-1978
40 7/8 x 15 7/8 inches (103.8 x 40.3 cm)
Al Taylor
Egyptian Painting, 1978
72 x 36 inches (182.9 x 91.4 cm)
Al Taylor
Helen, 1976
54 1/4 x 72 1/4 inches (137.8 x 183.5 cm)
Al Taylor
Untitled, c. 1974-1975
72 x 48 inches (182.9 x 121.9 cm)

Al Taylor in his Warwick Street studio, Kansas City, Missouri, April 1969 © 2017 The Estate of Al Taylor

Al Taylor
Thinking About It, 1980
90 x 40 inches (228.6 x 101.6 cm)
Al Taylor
Untitled, c. 1978-1979
72 1/8 x 48 inches (183.2 x 121.9 cm)

Published on the occasion of the exhibition is a fully illustrated book which includes an essay by John Yau and a conversation conducted by Mimi Thompson with artists Stanley Whitney and Billy Sullivan, all of whom knew Taylor well during his lifetime. A detailed biographical chronology compiled by Debbie Taylor completes this important contribution to the understanding of her husband's life and work. Published by David Zwirner Books.