Philip Taaffe

New Paintings
November 4 - December 22, 2000

Philip Taaffe - New Paintings
Ghost Still Life, 2000
Mixed media on canvas
78-1/2 x 50 inches (199.4 x 127 cm)

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Opening reception: Saturday, November 4, 2000 6-8pm

Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Philip Taaffe. In recent years Taaffe's pictorial explorations have led to a unique hybrid between abstraction and representation. From his earliest works, Taaffe has demonstrated an intense engagement with the formal language of ornament as it often functions in the arts of Islam: as a spiritual entryway to meditation and rapture. In recent years, the painter has become increasingly involved with wedding this concept of the decorative to an abiding interest in natural forms: plants and flora, primitive organisms, sea life, etc.

For these present paintings Taaffe has taken as inspiration the works of Henri Matisse and Paul Klee, through their exemplary use of rhythm and design as adapted from direct observation of nature. Fossilized imprints of early life forms, the growth patterns of shells and leaves, and the skeletal artifacts of paleontology recur throughout these paintings as both visual subjects and formal structures. These elements are further synthesized through an accretion of technique and media that includes oil, enamel and acrylic painting, silkscreen and relief printing, and collage. These new works embody the pictorial vividness and unlikely beauty for which the artist is known.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue, with an original essay exploring the relationship between science and art, written by the distinguished organic chemist and microbiologist Charles Wehrenberg.