Michael Taylor: BOY. BOAT. BAT.

Michael Taylor: BOY. BOAT. BAT.

WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to present BOY. BOAT. BAT. a new solo exhibition by Michael Taylor.

Figurative drawings, scenic paintings and sculptural elements are brought together as an installation in this body of work, creating a vibrant collage of styles and recurring motifs that are present throughout Taylor’s oeuvre. Extrapolating on his signature themes, Taylor has woven together an absurdist narrative using the characters of the Boy, Boat and Bat as touch points in his unfolding drama.

‘Boy’: the figure

Taylor’s troupe of pirouetting males come to represent a collaged portrait of his experience of the gay community or “tribe”, presented as an iteration of dandyism and flamboyant gesture. The characters that garnish the artist’s paper are non-placeable; they trump both a contemporary context and a South African one. They are a topsy-turvy fruit salad of misplaced masculinities in coming-of-age narratives or captured in intimate moments of male-bonding.

‘Boat’: the landscape

Persisting with the performative in his notion of ‘place’, Taylor uses narrative-driven scenes to create a makeshift imaginarium where the boat is a metaphor for the male figure. The question of ego seems to approach in the boat’s meditation between the conscious and subconscious. The boat — a symbol of leisure — forms the romantic backdrop for escapism, perhaps a hedonistic holiday in an exotic localeIt reoccurs like a visual punctuation mark, becoming a placeholder for both figurative and abstract ideas of storytelling, setting the stage for a fantasy play.

‘Bat’: the narrative

The narrative of BOY. BOAT. BAT. is a fictional one, and importantly, that of an outsider. Humour and satire are used in the staging of the compositions and propositions of paintings, while the theatrics of display mimic the theatre as a home of the absurd and exaggerated. The viewer is urged to see the exhibition as a set, with mini-vignettes or dramas unfolding between the characters. Theatrical poses and exaggerated gestures point to the idea of a ‘dance’ or choreographed rehearsal. Personal mythologies are at play in the curation of the show; suggestive bulges in striped pantaloons/orange onesies playfully call out to drawings of volcanoes at the brink of eruption. This ‘explosive potential’ of the overlapping vignettes seems to draw together various themes of the show: humour, fictional desire and sexuality.


Michael Taylor’s BOY. BOAT. BAT. runs at WHATIFTHEWORLD until October 13, 2018.

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