Exhibition poster for:
Ken Taylor Reynaga
10/13 → 11/03 2022
Simchowitz is pleased to present Alcatraz, Ken Taylor Reynaga’s first exhibition in our DTLA location. The works in Alcatraz include a collection of newly completed oil paintings, works on paper and ceramics. In the paintings, Ken Taylor Reynaga uses the Alcatraz (Calla Lily) to explore both the art historical and personal cultural significance of the flower.
In making this work, Ken Taylor Reynaga draws inspiration from seminal figures such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Diego Rivera and the ways in which they use flora motif as a conceptual entry point. The artist explores his own relationship to flora, in this instance the Alcatraz (Calla Lily) specifically, and its cultural importance. As a Mexican-American artist born in Southern California, Ken Taylor Reynaga knows the flowers as a centerpiece included in celebrations of life and death. Using painting as a language to speak about the more existential aspects of his process-based practice, the artist explores texture, color and gestural application through the interwoven eloquence of the motif—the Alcatraz (Calla Lily).
Ken Taylor Reynaga (b. 1990, Lynwood, California) works with oil paints and glazed ceramics to construct a distinct visual vernacular. Using emblematic representations of wild birds, various flora, and personal possessions, the artist assembles a diaristic index of imagery that reveals a sincere and nostalgic attitude toward his immediate environment, perceptions, and experiences. Blurring the lines between abstraction, figuration, and still life, Ken Taylor Reynaga aims at capturing the sublime by skillfully rendering whimsical and sentimental imagery with a uniquely warm and approachable visual style.
Ken Taylor Reynaga received his BA in 2014 from California State University. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at Simchowitz, Los Angeles; The Mistake Room, Guadalajara; The Newsstand Project, Los Angeles; Capital Gallery, San Francisco. His works have been included in group exhibitions at Fort Gansevoort, New York; The Pit, Los Angeles; Ever Gold [Projects], San Francisco; Steve Turner, Los Angeles; Penske Projects, Montecito.
Ken Taylor Reynaga’s (b. 1990, Lynwood, CA) work emerges from the quotidian intimacies of people’s lives—from the meals we share with family, Sunday soccer games at the park, and even backyard boogies with friends. For Ken, these seemingly private moments—of significance only to those who experience them—are where we confront the broader contradictions of being human. Born in Southern California but raised in Bakersfield, Taylor Reynaga grew up in a place where newly arrived migrants live alongside people who either by choice or necessity settled in the agricultural hub of California’s Central Valley. This region, in Taylor Reynaga’s practice, is envisioned as a new frontier forged by narratives of rebirth and transformation at the edges of society. The promises of different worlds at the margin however are always accompanied by difficult experiences. For Taylor Reynaga, this becomes most pertinent when considering the ways we grapple with our pasts and our identities.
Thickly layered paintings of varying scales that elegantly and intentionally blur the boundaries between figuration and abstraction depict the emotionally loaded details of the everyday that Taylor Reynaga is invested in. Men wearing cowboy hats at a soccer stadium, a vaquero dancing with a woman at what could be a wedding, an illegal cockfight, a table filled with food—these common scenes on Taylor Reynaga’s canvases are fairly ordinary at first. When closely analyzed however, one notices that some of his pictures are painted on tablecloths or old bed sheets; that a cowboy hat is painted next to the flower table arrangement that a mother has made; or that the food on the table clearly tells us that whoever sat to enjoy it had limited means. The nuanced approach to engage with the charged relationship between masculinity and the domestic, the lives of mixed race people, and the inequities of class is what makes Taylor Reynaga’s practice distinct from his peers and predecessors. In a canon of Art History that has very narrowly defined what we consider Chicanx or Latinx art, Taylor’s works exist uncomfortably. The political in his practice is embodied, viscerally felt, and sited in the most private acts. Despite the bold painterly gestures and bursts of bright color that have come to define his stylistic approach, there is a quietness in the work and as you encounter it the experience resembles one of being invited to see a family photo album—albeit one that speaks to the realities of many families and not just one.
Taylor Reynaga received his BA in 2014 from California State University. Taylor Reynaga’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions at The Mistake Room, Guadalajara; The Newsstand Project, Los Angeles; Capital Gallery, San Francisco. His works have been included in group exhibitions at Fort Gansevoort, New York; The Pit, Los Angeles; Ever Gold [Projects], San Francisco; Steve Turner, Los Angeles; Penske Projects, Montecito.