Philip Taaffe

Recent Paintings
March 22 - April 19, 1997

Philip Taaffe - Recent Paintings
Monocled Cobra, 1996
Mixed media on canvas
89-1/2 x 111-1/2 inches (227.3 x 283.2 cm)

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Over the past decade, Philip Taaffe's work has been instrumental in reviving not only the field of abstraction, but of painting itself. His work is the result of an accumulation of elements: forms from nature, decorative ornament, and quotations from art history ranging from primitive to modern. These formal elements are synthesized through a layering of technique and media that includes oil, enamel and acrylic painting, silkscreen and relief printing, and collage.

In a recent catalogue from the Vienna Secession, author Brooks Adams wrote, "Taaffe's late-century paintings are further proof of what Warhol, Rauschenberg, and Johns have intimated since the '50s: that both explicit and subliminal imagery can be introduced to abstraction, without changing its gestalt -- that representation, in other words, can be deployed abstractly."

Included in these new paintings are depictions of the monacled cobra and the king snake which are inspired by Arabic calligraphy. They are joined by serpentine forms of the Sinhalese alphabet which are superimposed upon stained leaf-forms, poised between tension and repose. The diversity of life-forms, both natural and man-made, are celebrated in Taaffe's work, in this his first one person exhibition in Los Angeles.