For Augustine, the gestures of painting and flower arranging give to and borrow from each other, each informing the artist’s abiding interest in the way images of the natural world are formed, deciphered, and translated.
In the East Wing, Goldfinch is pleased to present “Kiss my petals,” an exhibition of new paintings by Taylor Augustine, and the artist’s first solo presentation. The exhibition is on view from September 10 to October 22.
Abstracted, quick, and appearing lightly touched, as though gently pressed onto their canvases, the floral imagery in Augustine’s work is rarely painted from direct observation of its subject matter. Instead, the flowers that appear in the works have been translated through various media, from photography to quick sketches to print-outs of video stills that have been cropped so closely they lose all legibility. Through these material shifts, in which a polaroid taken of flowers in a compost pile becomes a reference point for a painting, Augustine nods to the slippery role that flowers play in our contemporary world.
In addition to her painting practice, the artist also works as a floral designer. For Augustine, the gestures of painting and flower arranging give to and borrow from each other, each informing the artist’s abiding interest in the way images of the natural world are formed, deciphered, and translated. Through the lenses of these two creative processes, flowers take on both formal and conceptual qualities that speak to their fickle symbolism and many paradoxes; they are beautiful and morbid, celebratory and mournful, natural and artificial, placeless and rooted.
In her song “Les Fleurs,” from 1970, Minnie Riperton sings, “Will somebody wear me to the fair / Will a lady pin me in her hair / Will a child find me by a stream / Kiss my petals, weave me through a dream.” Sung from the perspective of a flower, the lushness of the song is carried by lyrics that feel personal but strangely disembodied. The ambiguous flower sings of the human lives it touches, but the stories are partial, fleeting, and mysterious. Like Riperton’s song, Augustine’s paintings reveal their familiar floral subjects as estranged from “natural” contexts like gardens or fields, uprooted and circulating through our lives as gestures that only reveal a fragment of a larger picture. By placing her flowers in spaces that feel expansive and groundless, Augustine nods at our inability to pin them down or personalize them with a solitary meaning or identity...though we continue to try.
Taylor Augustine, b. 1998 Northeast Ohio, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in the fall of 2021. Her work expands from a deep affinity with decorative arts through practices in drawing, painting and floristry. Her recent work considers the sensation of layering, through a multiplicity of images by creating potentiality of loose narrative structure and improvisation that complicates the context of flowers. She illustrates language and the natural world in translations of what it desires and where it arrives. Previous group exhibitions include “green belt,” at Jargon Projects, Chicago; “every instance of stasis,” at SAIC Galleries; “Inflorescence, Heaven Gallery, Chicago, IL.