“Absent Referent” Exhibition
September 1 - October 28
Autumn Kioti & Kim Rae Taylor
On View in the East Gallery
September 1 – October 28, 2023
The work of Autumn Kioti and Kim Rae Taylor come together for this exhibition as both artists repurpose books, deconstructing and reconstructing the pages into metaphorical, wall-mounted pieces.
Each artist explores subject matter through the theme of absence. Taylor examines art history’s past and the exclusion of women from the canon. Kioti offers a cautionary glimpse of the future, as environmental deregulation continues while billions of birds disappear from our planet. The domination of women and the environment is symbolized through the work of each artist and their use of discarded books that are repurposed, deconstructed and reimagined to become something symbolic. The books broadly speak to the current political climate in Florida as the state has become synonymous with censorship and book banning by right-wing lawmakers and school boards. Speaking through the repurposing of books is a physical link for the artists’ work to converge. Conceptually, both artists work to dismantle the “Great Chain of Being” in a unique dialogue of differing yet convergent subject matter. Taylor examines the domination of the Western art world, exploring the ways women have been excised from the mainstream, while Kioti focuses on the urge to dominate the natural world, traditionally seen as feminine, finding the underlying societal fibers that lead from one to the other.
Kioti’s Flight Patterns [iv iteration] is an installation of altered books and dismembered, sliced, distressed, soaked Audubon prints and other texts (dimensions expand or contract to fit space) primarily mounted on plexi-glass and hung as if suspended. Each bird has been excised from print and book page, leaving bird-shaped absences created from shadow and light on the wall behind.
Taylor’s Meditation, a wall-length installation, is constructed from tattered and outdated art history and art instruction books. Pages are removed from the bindings and assembled into a patchwork, much like a quilt, with text and images serving as backdrop for drawing, painting, and collage media. Smaller, singular pages are isolated and modified to satellite within the space, some presented in repurposed frames.
Kim Rae Taylor is a visual artist and teacher who draws from the canon of Western art history using outdated art books to interrogate the ways in which women have been situated as both artist and subject. In addition to this project, Taylor’s mixed media practice explores a variety of themes that look to nature, language, and gender. More of her work can be found in studio #4 at Arts Warehouse, where she often leads community workshops. Taylor and Autumn Kioti recently launched Florida Art Resistance.
For more info: www.kimraetaylor.com www.floridaartresistance.org
Art and nature are humanity’s common language, and my primary instrument as an interdisciplinary artist and Master Naturalist.. I use this common language to tell stories, whether through narrative, movement, installation, poetry….Within my current practice, I confront issues such as climate change, the Anthropocene urge to conquer the environment, food justice, identity, the intersection of access to wild space/mental health, finding the correlation of each to the other impossible to ignore .
In confronting these issues over the last decades in South Florida, New York City, and beyond, my chosen media has been fluid and responsive to the environmental conditions in which I work. My diverse materials include garbage, video and sound, poetry, fiber arts, cooking and food, plant and animal companions, and more traditional two- and three-dimensional work. I select my medium based on how the public can be best engaged in a site-specific piece: whether through installation, or performance, or workshops.
Tackling environmental and societal issues necessitates an acknowledgement that we are truly interdependent, participating in the story of our natural and built environments together, as a community and as a society. I frequently collaborate with organizations, individual scientists, and activists: NYC Audubon, Audubon Everglades, Rohi’s Readery, EcoAmerica, the American Littoral Society, the Wild Bird Fund, firefly expert Dr. Sara Lewis, landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson, and more. I have offered presentations on art-based approaches to environmental justice and climate change as an ecoAmerica Climate for Health ambassador, and conduct workshops at Rohi’s Readery, a social justice-driven children’s bookstore. Much of this work is offered on a volunteer basis at established institutional spaces, and the majority is entirely grassroots, self-funded, and engages a broad and diverse public of all ages and backgrounds.
My visual and performance work has been shown in New York City at The Queens Museum, The Last Frontier, the Mothership, the Robert Miller Gallery, Denise Bibro Fine Arts, Art in Flux Harlem, Dixon Place and more. I have also been shown or appeared in LA, Johannesburg, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Japan, New Jersey, Poughkeepsie, and New Mexico. In Florida, my work has appeared at the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County, Studio 18, Arts Warehouse, GallerRE (Resource Depot) and more. I have been in residence with the NYC Audubon, the Santa Fe Art Institute, and more, and most recently received a commission to create an installation and performance for the city of West Palm Beach through the ArtLife committee in partnership with the Mandel Library.
In choosing to create moments that are site specific, re-purposing mundane scavenged objects, using urgent movement and instinctive brushstrokes, I seek to create a tether from myself to others, a dialogue about our place, about what immobilizes us, tangles us up, throws us forward, breaks us down; a recognition that we are both less and more important that we imagine, and that we’re all writing this story together.