(Note: This was written before Gary Taxali visited My Summer Lair)
Two of the best words in the English language: Road Trip!
My friend and I hoped into my laser blue Dart and road tripped to…Cambridge, Ontario. Ours was a cultural mission, our prime directive to enjoy a day trip into the fabulous world of Gary Taxali and later in Stratford a play.
I know…a gallery exhibition and a Stratford play all in one arty day…classy! (Not to worry I kept the class at bay with my Spider-Man seatbelt belt).
Stepping into the Idea Exchange | Design at Riverside gallery is like a fantastical Disney meets Warhol trip into Gary Taxali’s head. Wow. So cool.
If you don’t know the name you know the art…Gary’s work is all over Toronto. Like how some comic book series read better in trades than monthlys when you consume all of his work like this you can firmly grasp Gary’s absurdist sarcasm, his Warholian pop playfulness and his infectious desire as an Artist to not be bound to just 1 medium rather: the medium is the message.
As much as I’m attracted to Gary’s work and his voice I find it humbling and inspiring to witness somebody traverse mediums like a GPS-less explorer.
There’s no manipulation from a grand marketing plan, no cyclical expectations like in music (album, tour, album tour etc.). Rather he’s clearly making this up as he goes along so his dynamic career unfolds with the evocative suspense of a blockbuster movie. Now What? for true!
This retrospective is a greatest hits collection covering all of his mediums…ready?
- Magazine covers (Maclean’s, Newsweek and Walrus magazines (plus many more)
- Concert posters for Pearl Jam, Primus and Toots (plus many more)
- Album covers for Aimee Mann (do I have to say it again?)
- A line of limited-edition skateboards (just got a craving for Mountain Dew…)
- A series of old-timey wooden toys
- Oh No (not sure what is going with that but I totally dig it)
- And…a series of Italian silk pocket squares for men’s clothier Harry Rosen (they do not sell Spider-Man seatbelt belts).
How cool is that?!
His work and his mediums it’s all lowbrow and highbrow, classy and trashy, strange and sublime…Gary’s work flourishes in the common and often crippling contradictions within the Art World. And maybe…perhaps his work doesn’t support my glib impressions; if it appears effortless it’s because he is having…fun. Clearly.
Fun in an art gallery? That’s about as unpossible as Ralph Wiggum failing English.
Here is what I saw…I won’t bombard you with all I took in; safe to say GO…see this for yourself:
Here and Now is at Design at Riverside, 7 Melville St. S., Cambridge; closing on September 20. Gary Taxali will deliver a talk at the gallery Monday, September 21 at 7:30pm.