“It’s not always easy explaining to my wife why I keep hoarding stuff from the recycling bin, says Tim Taylor, whose exhibition A Sudden Sun Explodes (and other fragments) includes works made using discarded and redundant household objects including plastic drinking straws and pink carbon copy paper.
It’s the artist’s fourth exhibition at Custom Lane, but the first in two years, during which time our perceptions of the spaces we live in and the things that surround us have changed dramatically.
My work has always been rooted in the quotidian things that surround us. I try to test the possibilities of these everyday objects.
During the various lockdowns brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Tim became increasingly aware of the items ending up in his household recycling. These objects became the raw materials for a new body of work that emphasises their intriguing and almost sculptural qualities.
“My work has always been rooted in the quotidian things that surround us,” says Tim, whose 2020 show Dark Interiors presented ink prints made from the net shapes of flattened cardboard packaging. “I try to test the possibilities of these everyday objects.”
For this exhibition, Tim created another set of prints from fragments of cardboard boxes, as well as a wall-mounted artwork made from single-use containers. Yellow Plastic Abstracts highlights the moulded bases of the plastic food packaging in a bright shade of yellow that contrasts with the black mono-prints of the Dark Interiors series. “The yellow is such an optimistic colour,” says the artist, who used acrylic paint to pick out the intricately indented surfaces, expressing their abstract, geometric designs.
I had a bunch of these papers lying around from my childhood. They’re almost useless now so I wanted to give them new agency.
“I’m not proud of the amount of plastic passing through my house,” admits Tim, suggesting that the embellished containers could become a memorial to the oil and gas industry when plastic is eventually replaced with a more sustainable alternative.
The other two works included in the show are made using materials that have become largely redundant due to the prevalence of digital communication methods. Office Shady Groves features sheets of pink carbon copy paper bleached with dappled patterns produced by the sun’s rays passing through leaves. Letters from Antarctica comprises more than 50 sheets of blue airmail paper, each displaying the outline of an iceberg rendered in correction fluid. “I had a bunch of these papers lying around from my childhood,” Tim recalls. “They’re almost useless now so I wanted to give them new agency. The work links to Thin Blue Line, a chalk line I drew along the Custom House waterfront to coincide with the COP26 conference in Glasgow, showing predicted flood levels in 2100. The increasing number of icebergs in the polar regions are a clear sign of global warming. Two more were created just weeks ago when an entire ice shelf collapsed in East Antarctica.”
On their own, the objects presented in the exhibition might seem insignificant or mundane, but together these fragments provide an insight into everyday life and the essential quest to combat issues associated with mass consumption and climate change.
View A Sudden Sun Explodes (and other fragments) at Custom Lane, until 17th April 2022
Learn more about Tim Taylor: timgtaylor.com