Opening Reception: Friday, September 2nd, 2011, 5:00-7:00 pm
James Kelly Contemporary is pleased to announce Working the Line an exhibition of photographs by David Taylor. This will be his first solo show with the gallery.
In, 2006 Taylor started the lofty project of finding and documenting the 276 obelisks that mark the border between Mexico and the United States from El Paso/Juarez west to San Diego/Tijuana. The Obelisks were installed between 1891-1895, and were first documented in the mid 1890s by D.R. Payne for the International Boundary Commission. They stand today as when they were installed with a plaque in English facing north and a corresponding one in Spanish facing south notifying all travelers of the location of the boundary.
There are two types of monuments that delineate the border, earlier masonry examples and the more recent cast iron versions. They were installed at varying distances depending on the terrain with the intent that they would be visible by line of sight from the vantage point of a person on horseback. The context in which they can be found ranges from populated urban areas to desert and rugged mountains. The monuments stand as a testament to a past generation of border etiquette, whereas today border fence and vehicle barriers cut a path across territory that was once only marked by the solitary obelisks.
Taylor’s effort to find and document the monuments has lead to a larger body of work “examining the change occurring along the border at a pivotal moment.” Taylor has been granted unprecedented access to the US Border Patrol and produced a corresponding body of work that depicts daily life along the border with images of the border agents and smugglers as well as contraband and the ongoing fence construction. In 2008 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for the project. With only a handful of monuments left to photograph Taylor intends to complete his work this fall.
The exhibition will feature images of both the border monuments and the daily events Taylor witnessed over the several years he has thus far devoted to this project.
Taylor received his BFA from Tufts University and a MFA from the University of Oregon. His work has been exhibited widely and is in the permanent collection of many public institutions including, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The El Paso Museum of Art, Texas; University of Washington Special Collections, Seattle; New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe; and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum, Utah State University, Logan, UT.
A 2010 monograph published by Radius Books about the project will be available for purchase at the gallery or by contacting www.radiusbooks.org
The artist will be in attendance for the opening at James Kelly Contemporary, on September 2nd from 5-7 pm.