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Behind the Image: Maggie Taylor's 'The Companions'


photo-eye Gallery Kindred Spirits: Behind the Image Maggie Taylor's The Companionsphoto-eye Gallery’s current exhibition, Kindred Spirits,  includes a selection of Taylor’s work featuring whimsical relationships between multitudes of species. One such work, The Companions, draws from a renowned art historical reference to reimagine a beloved classical baroque painting.

Maggie Taylor – The Companions, 2019, Archival Pigment Print, 15x15" Image, Edition of 15, $2,800

Maggie Taylor
One of visual art’s most potent qualities is its ability to transport viewers into unknown worlds of fantasy and imagination. Maggie Taylor’s work expertly does just that. Her painstakingly meticulous Photoshop craft combines layer upon layer of found imagery to create bizarre worlds in which physics and anatomy defy the rules of our reality. Often combining humans, animals, plants, and objects, Taylor’s fantastical environments invite viewers to imagine and dream.

Photo-eye Gallery’s current exhibition, Kindred Spirits,  includes a selection of Taylor’s work featuring whimsical relationships between multitudes of species. One such work, The Companions, draws from a renowned art historical reference to reimagine a beloved classical baroque painting. Taylor offered a bit of insight into her inspiration and process for this work:

“Last year I was in Madrid and saw the Velazquez painting Las Meninas for the first time in real life.  I was very familiar with it from art history classes in college, but had not realized how large it was.  I wanted to make an image inspired by it, so I started with a file from the internet which I touched up to remove all the people in the painting.  With an empty room as a sort of stage, I began to experiment with different people from the 19th-century daguerreotypes I collect.  I wanted the young girl to be the artist….and to have some companions in the room with her.” 
Velazquez was an official Spanish court painter during the reign of King Phillip IV of Spain in the 17th century. Las Meninas shows the artist himself as an adult in the process of painting the King and Queen of Spain and/or the princess Infanta Margaret Theresa along with a myriad of court attendants. The painting is complex, mysterious, layered in meaning, and holds many hidden gems among the masterful composition and execution of Velazquez’ painting craft. There are paintings within paintings, portraits within portraits.

Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, Oil on canvas, 153 x 109 inches, 1656.

That Taylor would choose this work as the inspiration for one of her digital photographs seems quite apt, as she builds the complexity of her invented worlds in layers, hiding special details for those willing to spend time and look close. Her re-envisioned version of the Spanish masterpiece also takes the little girl from the position of being simply the subject of the painting and repositions her as the artist and creative force in the environment, as Velazques is also both artist and subject matter in the original work. This offers a much different context for thinking about acts of creation and modes of perspective from adult male to juvenile female. Removing the rest of the figures from the environment and leaving only a small mouse and the girl’s dog as “companions” highlights the special relationships that can form between children and animals. This also points to the presence of a dog in the original work, drawing a connection between these interspecies relationships past and present.

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published.

For more information, and to purchase artworks, please contact photo-eye Gallery Staff at:
(505) 988-5152 x 202 or gallery@photoeye.com


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On view through August 24, 2019

Featuring work by Keith Carter, David Deming, Pentti Sammallahti, and Maggie Taylor

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. Prices will increase as editions sell. 




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