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Gary Taxali: My Feelings Like You

Exhibition preview

GARY Taxali: My Feelings Like You, the artist’s first UK solo art show, will be on display at The Outsiders London Gallery from May 4 to June 2, 2012.

Grammy-nominated Gary Taxali is one of North America’s foremost contemporary artists, and globally recognised as one of the top fine artists working within popular culture. He has won over 500 industry awards, exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum and The Whitney Museum of American Art, and has created coins for the Canadian Mint.

In his introduction to Taxali’s monograph ‘I Love You, OK?’ (teNeues), street art kingpin Shepard Fairey describes him as “one of those rare artists whose work is immediately inviting and familiar, yet idiosyncratic and unmistakable.”

Taxali’s art slickly re-imagines 1930s pop art and iconography. The resulting work possesses a nostalgic feel with a modern sensibility.

Steven Heller, renowned art critic and former art director of The New York Times says: “Gary Taxali visually blends now with then. His style is repurposed with the goal of communicating the ironies and comical essence of popular culture. His work is at once alluring and endearing.”

Aesthetically the work oozes nostalgic charm, but more vitally it offers heartfelt succour for the average men and women of the 21st century.

“Turning a mirror onto the viewer is amazing for some artists, but I’m more interested in a form of escapism that makes people feel, ‘there’s possibilities’,” says Taxali.

“Despite the horrible depression and turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s there was a general feeling of hope and optimism – even though man had never even been to the moon – and both are reflected in the imagery of the time. Even corporations represented themselves with cartoon characters, and weren’t viewed as quite so terrible either.”

In the manner of photographer and 2000 Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans, Taxali celebrates the everyday, reminding viewers they can find elegance in the simplest matters. “I just want people to appreciate the banal: things that are accidentally beautiful, like packaging,” he says.

Taxali follows in the fine tradition of blending low culture with high art: “I’m not a revisionist or nostalgic. But I do feel rooted to contemporary art and design, and I bring that together with the aesthetic.” Whilst Gary has employed the style for over a decade, he acknowledges the resonance “between then and now, economically speaking.”

Taxali’s graphic, textured original works use not only oils but a variety of techniques including silk screening, drawing, ink and other mixed media. They often employ distressed found media and used surfaces. “In ‘Feelings Like You’ there’ll be ink and enamels on cardboard, a collage featuring old book pages, and oil paintings,” he adds.

Whilst the artist is noted for miniatures, the exhibition also features his largest ever work at 60 by 80 inches. Hand-pencilled school desk-style graffiti adds yet another layer of playfulness to Taxali’s humanist approach. “It’s a further exploration into my happy world,” he says, “I’m telling stories.”

The Outsiders London, 8 Greek Street, W1D 4DG

Tel +44 (0)203 214 0055/66