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By Andrew Frost
Perhaps it was inevitable following the invention of photography that painting would challenge the former’s claim to an absolute and objective truth. The approach of those painters who’ve become known as the hyperrealists has been to match the look and feel of the photograph from its edges and colour saturations, to its angles and collapsed perspectives, as well as painstakingly recreating the casual rectangle of the 35mm still frame. In Nathan Taylor’s show Loved To Death, all the hyperrealist hallmarks are present as the painter elevates actual garbage to our attention.
Across a series of seven canvases Taylor asks the viewer to consider trash-packed garbage bins as emblems of mass consumption. Loved To Death depicts a green bin full to overflow, a Coke can next to an apple core, while in Running on Empty coffee cups and cigarette butts crowd the top a shiny metal-topped bin. New Found Freedom depicts a plastic bubble-tea cup jammed into a chain-link fence.
All of these sights are familiar contemporary scenes and, by applying the hyperreal painting techniques to his subject, Taylor is asking us consider to the ugly edge of consumer culture. That he does it with the sheen and flair of the faux-photographic image is the conceptual trick that lies at the heart of the repulsive-attraction we find in the work.
Until September 29.
Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay
Pic: Nathan Taylor, Serve You Right, 2011. Acrylic on board, 50x100cm. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid.
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