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Pace Taylor: I hear voices from the other room, but I can’t make out the words
March 11, 2021 - April 18, 2021Free
“They come in bursts, almost like a heartbeat. I feel the shape of a word rolling forward and back between teeth and tonsils, stuck on the tongue.”
Portland-based artist Pace Taylor (they/them) visualizes their craſt in bursts, jolts of feeling and passion that arrive in intimate fragments sticking to the skin and leaving an imprint on the paper. For their upcoming exhibition at Nationale titled I hear voices from the other room, but I can’t make out the words, the previous statement serves as the backbone to the push & pull dichotomy of their drawings. This craving to understand the very basic human drive for connection and communion is inane, like a heartbeat, like a breath, to Taylor’s work. Yet, at the center is also the immutable truth that try hard as we may, we might never fully understand one another. Knowing this, how do we continue forging ahead?
Pulling from their own experience as a queer, non-binary, and neurodivergent artist, Taylor creates scenes of assumed repose in imagined settings. Oſten, their visuals are draſted from found imagery and recreated in weighty lead and soſt pastels, a contrast in itself. While the individuals in the photographs they source may look out of place, in Taylor’s perceptions, when doubled onto the surface the artist gives them a new life. A pop of pink, a figure in “sun sets, holding” walks into a room and flips the switch on two other figures, their faces and bodies depicted in red and orange, in bed. What’s the story here? The skewed perspective and the bold emphasis on color twist our understanding of the scene, yet, in its twisting the image becomes ever more fluid. In “the passenger’s side” we see a figure, lacking a finely detailed face apart from the eyes, leaning out of the passenger side of a vehicle while a nondescript couple with no facial features are embraced in a kiss. There is no driver behind the wheel. There is no clue as to whether the car is in motion or stagnant. Instantly, we are pulled to learn everything about these caricatured figures.
These drawings are paused moments, glimpses, portals into which the artist can write and rewrite an imagined narrative. In this instant of recontextualization, there is an attempt to decipher bigger questions of belonging. There is also an acceptance of the unknown—it is safety in the indefinite. Ultimately, we understand there is no need for words.
Pace Taylor lives in Portland, OR. They received their BFA in Digital Arts from the University of Oregon (2015), and have shown their work at Portland galleries, including: Disjecta, Stephanie Chefas Projects, Wieden + Kennedy, and Third Room Gallery.