Al Taylor (American, 1948–1999)
Pet Names, 1991
Gouache, ink, xerographic toner fixed with solvent, and graphite
Gift of Debbie Taylor; 2020.39
© The Estate of Al Taylor. Photography by Glenn Steigelman
Prince Charming, 2015, from the project “Seat Assignment,” 2010 and ongoing Digital chromogenic print
Purchased on the Charina Endowment Fund; 2019.142
© Nina Katchadourian
Nina Katchadourian: In Al Taylor's drawing called Pet Names, he has made what seems to be rather random drips and dribbles and then labeled these with the names of various neighborhood dogs. So there's sort of one kind of marking and then a, a kind of animal kind of marking that, that meet up in this drawing. But they're also emanations of a sort, and I think that for me is what connects them to the other two works here, this image of witches from the Ames album and then an image I've made called Prince Charming. In those last two images, there's a kind of emanation or leakage of energy, or force of energy, moving between these elements in the picture, work like a kind of charm or curse or spell being cast. So the attractions that we see here might be, you could say, both of a natural and a supernatural type.
Prince Charming is made from an image that I saw in an inflight magazine when I was on a plane once and I poured sugar onto that page and I shaped the sugar so that it appeared that these two pilots passing one another were winking at one another. This group also has in common markings and signals cast out into the world that are perhaps perceptible to some, but not to all. For the dogs leaving markings, perhaps it's only other dogs that perceive those, those messages and similarly for the witches, and similarly for the pilots who are passing each other here and communicating something that perhaps only they are privy to. There are connections that are only visible for a moment, like a handshake where two things come together for an instant, touch, and then separate. And as the show's very title suggests Uncommon Denominator, it might be about looking for a connection that isn't the, the very first and most obvious one. So, I've tried to find instances of things that join up together perhaps for a moment, perhaps visibly, perhaps less so. And in Saul Steinberg's drawing old couples, it's also a wonderful collection of things that, that seem to belong together that, that might be together in ways that we see all the time, but haven't identified as, as a couple per se, like a knife and a fork, or, or the intersection of two streets. So they belong together and, and yet they're kind of together all the time right in front of us.