Kiyomi Quinn Taylor
January 13, 2024 - February 18, 2024
Ki Smith Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Kiyomi Quinn Taylor at the gallery’s New York location at 170 Forsyth Street. This is the artist’s second exhibition with the gallery, opening January 13, 2024.
The exhibition title, Hurry Home, are two words borrowed from a book of poetry gifted by Taylor’s grandfather to her mother on her wedding day. The poem from which the phrase was born, auspiciously dated on the yet-to-be-born artist’s birthday, portrays the inexplicable pull of returning in some way to the place from which you come. For Taylor, home is both the United States and a place she knows only through family photographs and the stories of her maternal ancestors: Japan. All roads in Taylor’s worlds lead to one place, home. This place is multifaceted and ever-layered.
Taylor bridges time through the literal and figurative collaging of family history, folklore, personal memory, internal narratives, and dreams; both hers and those of her loved ones. By building worlds in which her references are materialized and interact with one another, generations are combined into single magical beings within theatrical scenes where memory is blurred. Or as the artist puts it, “ancestor as avatar.” In the central installation piece Rite of Way, Taylor casts herself as child in the role of her mother and replaces her grandmother with her great grandmother in this visualization of a repeated maternal family folklore. Within this allegorical scene, Taylor collapses time to create a bridge between generations who have never met; a tool she uses repeatedly throughout her work. The figures appear ready to be moved through the installation; a reference to Bunraku, Japanese puppet theater. Through invested studies of her family’s oral histories and photographs, Taylor searches for answers on her multifaceted and transcendent ancestral history.
In a reimagined memory of Hurricane Sandy, State of Emergency depicts the artist’s father barbecuing on the back porch with a miniature depiction of the artist hanging from his shirt. Here she is dressed in clothing pulled from a photograph of a paternal aunt in the 1960s. The scene takes place in New Jersey, yet the traditionally Japanese-breeded family dog stands in as a komainu, the Japanese lion-dog statues who guard the gates of shrines; a common motif throughout her work and a nod to the artist’s Japanese heritage within an archetypal American setting.
Remains of the Day portrays Taylor’s maternal grandfather sitting with a large Gila lizard and three hearts in a bird cage, while a hawk sits freely on a branch. Here the grandfather stands in for the artist, he has shut himself off emotionally by caging his hearts and denying himself the opportunity to watch the colorful sun setting behind him. The title of the piece is borrowed from the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, a story of a butler who denies himself love and interpersonal relationships his entire life in order to fulfill his duty. Here the viewer can assume that Taylor and her grandfather share a commitment to duty even when pleasure must be sacrificed, again creating a bridge between two generations who will never meet.
- Lucy Beni
About Kiyomi Quinn Taylor
Kiyomi Quinn Taylor (b.1995) is a multimedia artist from New Jersey. Taylor received her BFA from New York University in 2017 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2020. Her work examines iconographies of her mixed-race heritage (Black and Japanese), identity, migration, and power. Taylor uses collage and mixed media (painting, drawing, textiles, stop-motion animation and performance) to examine genealogical memory and mixed-race interiority in the language of allegory. Her work leverages magical realism against the sociopolitical turmoils of today as a foil, a mirror, and an escape. She has exhibited in galleries in New York, Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Chicago, and Los Angeles (including, but not limited to Steve Turner Gallery) - and, internationally. Her work is included in several major domestic and international collections.Taylor's work was included in an exhibition at Christie’s New York showroom and exhibited at the Armory Show with a collective of artists shown by For Freedoms. Taylor is the recipient of the Helen Frankenthaler painting award in 2019 and an artist grant from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts in 2022. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.