Imogen Taylor: Quiet Motel
In these times, where the world seems anything but quiet and noise has seeped into every crevice like so much static, the lure of a quiet place—however, we might imagine it—is a strong one. Imogen Taylor’s Quiet Motel speaks to this collective craving through a dead-of-night romance. There’s more to these paintings than escapism, though. Rendered in night-strokes, these images range from moonlit woods and hearth-glittered estuaries, merrily reflecting one lonesome resident, to fish-strewn bodies reposing in release. These works utter the kinds of intimate whispers you’d need to be in a quiet place to hear—invitations to step outside the garishly over-lit and over-exposed confines of the tiresome known. They indulge the small, scintillating voice that only admits vulnerability in the infrequent breaths between battles, between meetings, between grocery runs and workdays and obligatory friendships that leave the subterranean well inside you gruesomely untouched. What do you really need?, Taylor asks disarmingly. In Quiet Motel, Taylor’s characteristic blocks of colour take on a figurative lilt, recognisable forms emerging from various fogs; of lockdown, of depression, of the lorazepam you took to take the edge off of being so god-forsakenly heart-sore. Perhaps from the fog of hunger itself, which can distort reality into unholy semblances of the thing you didn’t know you were missing, cruelly offering an echo of the desired, but never the real in all its glorious thing-ness. No matter what specific thing fits your bill-of-orientation, history dictates that it’s unlikely you’ll find satisfaction.
Text by Samuel Te Kani.
Image: Imogen Taylor, Cabin Fever (detail), 2022, acrylic on hessian, 150 x 200cm.
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Whangarei Art Museum, Whangarei
Sunday 21 August 2022