For The Future is Ancient, Ken Taylor Reynaga’s third solo exhibition at Simchowitz Gallery, the artist presents new intimate drawings and paintings on paper, linen, and canvas that continue his joyous exploration of people, places, and things. For the works in this show, Taylor Reynaga toys with humor and play, as seen in several paper pieces featuring childlike elements such as Tweety bird and Tricycles. Other paintings depict objects related to work and toil, including his ongoing portrayals of wheelbarrows and cowboy hats. In Taylor Reynaga’s hands, these objective correlatives for labor evoke a bold and sensual relationship with the surrounding sun-dappled landscape.
In the The Future is Ancient, Taylor Reynaga also dances with themes of partnership and romance, e.g. a moving couplet of oil on canvas works titled Trees and Love and Love and Trees (all works 2023), in which we see red and blue figures kissing and canoodling in a forest-like location. In Belly Creek, an oil on canvas painting of a pregnant woman lying on a rock by a river, the figure appears relaxed and peaceful as she sinks into the surrounding natural environment. Although she appears alone, the viewer becomes the paramour gazing upon a lover in repose.
In addition to moments of levity and romance, the exhibition features balancing moments of melancholy, such as the darker palettes of Waterfalls and Dia y Noche. And yet, a feeling of hope resounds in these drawings and paintings. The thick, textured often cartoonlike repetitive nature of the artist’s work might call to mind Philip Guston. And elements such as the bright, primary-colored skin tones and the unrecognizable, moonlike landscapes, may make us think of the surrealists like Max Ernst. Taylor Reynaga’s renderings, however, have a vivacity and exuberance that distinguishes him from either historical artist. Although elements of nostalgia exist in the works in the exhibition, this is not a somber longing for the past, but rather, an exultant return to the joy and love of days gone by, and an eager look ahead to an unknown, yet “ancient” future.
Ken Taylor Reynaga received his BA in 2014 from California State University. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, Belgium; Simchowitz, Los Angeles; The Mistake Room, Guadalajara; The Newsstand Project, Los Angeles; and Capital Gallery, San Francisco. His works have been included in group exhibitions at Jac Forbes Gallery, Malibu; Fort Gansevoort, New York; The Pit, Los Angeles; Ever Gold Projects, San Francisco; Steve Turner, Los Angeles; and Penske Projects, Montecito.
The Future is Ancient is on view from February 18th, 2023, through March 18th with an opening reception on Saturday, February 18th from 5PM - 8PM.