"My name is Taylor Martin. Unfortunately, as it stands, we are nothing but “other” to each other. To break this proverbial ice, instead of calling myself an "artist", I would prefer to introduce myself as a river. Immediately after conception, I fell from the sky. From there, for some time I wallowed in and around the dirt in search of crevices that needed to be filled. Following my intuition, I then moved on to the next empty riverbed, and I have been repeating this process ever since. To some I am known for making canyons. To others I am infamous for destroying civilizations. In certain places that I exist, I am called “home” by many schools of fish with tiny, razor-sharp teeth selected naturally for the evolutionary purpose of nibbling at your toes. You will need a boat if you wish to navigate my thoughts. You will need a vacation afterwards.
To begin, consider that if were both to accept vision as being the closest sense tied to knowledge, and we were to equally consider language is a tool used to articulate this knowledge and share it with others; If we don't consider either of these statements to be bullshit, we can then and only then safely assume that the work I make relies on a consciousness of these two ideas, along with a realization towards the shortcomings of both. These two statements are what I like to think compose the ideology of my "work", and what inform the process by which it is made.
I am interested in cultivating a visual symbolism to which anyone can relate. In my attempts to do this, I borrow quite a bit of iconography and other various imagery (that was at one point in history or another thought of as being culturally relevant). Quite often, I will use this information I gather to create new symbols that can be seen in the light of the globalized contemporary society of which we are currently subject to.
Essentially, I am a performance artist using the photograph as a stage, as well as a director to the performance of others. The photographic image, in general, possesses a certain "black magic" that conjures a barrier between the viewer of the image and the reality of documented performance. This inherent connection with true "reality" that is perceived through the photograph quickly subverts itself the moment the "lying camera" is itself "lied to." Because of these mentioned properties, by following this logic I can see only this photographic means of creating visual fiction (that poses itself as fact) as the suitable vehicle for what I am trying to communicate.
Through my process, I arrange these elements of performance, along with the aforementioned notions of symbolism within my images. I intend for this marriage between process and content to provoke narrative and encourage a wider, more in-depth discourse. The conversations within this discourse will inevitably vary, but I like to think that in some way they revolve around themes such as: Personal, cultural, and physical memory, the relation between language and mythology, the chaotic state of identity politics today, and the shortcomings of our psychological disposition, and how this informs our human condition at all times. Risking idealization, as i often do, I would like to mention that "I want my work to exist as a sort of amalgamation of all that I have seen and can remember, while at the same time can be used as a tool to deconstruct the fabric of time and space."
“Ciphers and Shrines (Notes on Visual Language)”
As a product of my era, it is inevitable that my sense of history is viewed through the bias of a personal lens. Influence in our time is incredibly abundant and widespread. The individual is faced with the problem of prioritizing what information should be retained, and what is discarded, but one cannot be completely aware of all of what is actually retained and used. My images, words and ideas are the product of every day I have been alive and aware, and my subjective version of history is vast, but is still only a small fraction of actual history. The choice of making art in this condition is complex, and something that must be thought about and practiced constantly. The artist performs ritual, and the product is like a personal visual mythology. What I am making is a shrine to this mythology.
The installation will consist of three major parts: works on paper, videos shown on small televisions, and a sculptural component. The works on paper will be a combination of photographs, collages, drawings, and printed text. They will deal with personal iconography that has been constructed via my perception of various visual cultures. Sources are both historical and contemporary. The drawings and collages will use the icon more literally, and will stylistically refer to the history of drawing and painting. The photographs will be more of a way of alluding to the actual imagery that my aesthetic sensibilities are owed. Some will be actual recreations of other works, and some will share visual similarities.
In the sculptural component, photographs will be placed in small frames and lockets, making them into intimate or sentimental objects. They will be a personal collection, using family photographs and other images that reference my loosely constructed sense of history. Text will be placed over the images as a way to make connections between viewers, culture at large, and myself. They will be suspended from either fabricated tree branches or antlers, which will be hung high above the eye level of the viewer. What they are hung from will be a natural component within an interior setting, referencing some unknown natural order that lingers above.
Finally, the last major component will be five videos. These will be shown on small televisions placed on the floor. Ideally, The videos will be simple loops showing aspects associated with the practice of ritual. The more subtle components of sound and writing will be included, as well as different objects placed on shelves, in order to encourage interactivity and create unity with the space. The environment being created will be both visually and physically engaging on different levels. Though a lot is being included, it will be designed in such a way so that it is not especially crowded.
My influence for this project is theoretically incalculable, and that is the conceptual basis, but it can be seen trough historical context in the paintings of Piero Di Cosimo and Hieronymus Bosch. Similarities in spatial engagement can be seen with Ernesto Neto, and many other contemporary installation artists. My photographic inspiration for both the still pictures and video is coming mainly from film. My interest in non-linearity and ritual is shared with Maya Deren. Interest in the drama of cinematic lighting is shared with Steven Speilburg, but is also heavily influenced by Baroque painting. My main interest with this installed space is to bring together these specific influences with ones more broad and lesser known. The viewer becomes involved, and engages with what is shown through a subjective and coded visual language, and they will have to interpret this through their own similarly constructed rationale.
There is not one overarching theme, or single word, that can describe the content of my work. Instead, content varies from series to series with constants that run throughout. Each subjective context is made through a dialogue between images and ideas. I am interested in ideas of visual language, the validity of vision itself, the representation of self, memory, mythology, sensory experience, and the individual’s connection to a matrix of collective histories as themes, just to name a few.
The processes I use vary along with content, and the meaning of each piece is therefore modified by an interaction between the image and the process by which it was made. Though my process is not strictly limited to photography, photographs and the place they have secured within our culture motivate my work to a great degree. I use created imagery, along with images I find to construct visual fiction that poses itself as fact. The implications of each process I use are important, and I select each process according to what best fits each image. In photography, it is the photograph’s connection to the real I am after. In videos, the rejection of linear narrative and passive reception are always important. With site-specific installations, I want the viewer to arrive at a conclusion via an experience that stimulates each of the senses.
The process of making images and environments are an attempt to explore spiritual connections I feel with the process of making itself, however not being a spiritual person makes this difficult. What my work ends up being is a way for me to explore connections with the viewers around me, and to find a place for myself within histories I am unsure of.
“Beauty and Truth: Volume One” or,
“In Process of Searching for What You Can’t Find”
This project contains a finished series of 15 photographs, along with a smaller series of four panel narratives, and a larger collection of unedited images shown in stop-motion. These are all meant to meditate on the nature of the images themselves, and how images are percieved in general. This series is in a way the product of a struggle between trying to make images that are without specific predetermination of setting or direction, and trying to make that write their own fictions using photography. These are completely aware of their ability to manipulate. My interest in this visual problem came from going between processes; Going between making images with a camera, to making images with my hand and eye. In doing this, I became interested in what the implications that come along with tradition of image-making really are.
To a degree, It would make sense to call these images anonymous character studies, a phrase that is in itself a paradox. What comes across is a series of false personalities, various histories, and unique interactions that in reality existed only momentarily. As a group these are intended to react to one another and stimulate dialogue. They are meant to raise more questions than the number of answers they provide. Questions of history, visual language, the politics of identity, the relationship of image to text, the validity of images themselves, the representation or misrepresentation of truth, truth itself, the melodrama of daily life, domesticity, representation of the figure throughout history, and the nature of reality in general all became reoccurring in making these. Each embodies a set of themes that can either be describes in one word, or in long conversations, depending on the connotations applied.
These ideas are meant to come out in the different ways the condition of each character has been shown. Visual cues that could shed light on subjective identities have been removed. These cannot work as just portraits of individuals, so instead they become anonymous emotional landscapes, and can be interpreted just as loosely as any landscape has ever been. They are the byproduct of image saturation, a melting pot of symbolism from different eras. They are a search for clues to specifics that leave you with only abstractions. They come from looking closely at the difference in visual language that can be seen between classical painting and contemporary film, and continually reference the language they borrow.
Initially, I wanted to show these in a book. Thinking of the book as a vessel for knowledge that can be interacted with on a personal level. My intent would have been to encourage intimacy, and the building of relationships between viewer, subject, and artist. However, I did not want to present them in a predefined order, so they have been left loose and are kept together in a portfolio. The prints are large, and the portfolio is made to their size to give them a physicality that is reminiscent to ‘folios’ that are now kept in museums as artifacts. In presenting them this way, the viewer is given an opportunity to make their own connections, binding the book ideologically in whatever way they choose. Shown in the same space as the book is a projection of all of the images taken over the course of making the project. Some are related to the project, and some aren’t. Including these pushes a connection for the viewer to make, and to see the as a process of creating fiction purely by way of visual documentation.
What I am left with after making this series is a stronger connection with my own images, and the images of others. This connection feels almost spiritual. There is an extensive history involved that is so complex it becomes mythology. This is my own personal interpretation of visual language, and the way it portrays itself outwardly right now. Knowing my stance will inevitably change as I see more and more pictures is what has been gained. Each image I see will affect they way I see the next one, and the one after that, along with the way I remember each image I’ve seen in the past. I feel this project has changed the way I make work, and the way I approach the work of others.. It is my most honest attempt to date in making pictures as a way of communicating my philosophies with other people. I chose the words “Beauty and Truth” because they are two principles that have been carefully contemplated by thinkers throughout the ages, yet they are terms that still remain transparent enough that they cannot help but exist as a wide gamut of possibilities.
new videos coming soon