Ghost Light Junky
The Journal Gallery
There exists many a paradox in the accomplished artwork of Bill Saylor. His paintings are rendered loose and doodle-like while containing subjects both focused and vital. He conflates animal form with the emblems of car culture, ecological concern with industrial material.
"Ghost Light Junky," Saylorsí latest offering, on view through August 15th at The Journal Gallery (168 N. 1st Street), comes in the form of a gallery-wide installation. The show includes work from the artists recent residency at the Chinati Foundation, the Donald Judd founded art institution in Marfa, TX dedicated to "works in which art and the surrounding landscape are inextricably linked."
This mission statement suits Saylor well. His paintings cull images both from nature and the recesses of the psyche. Archetypal snakes protect/devour earth in their jaws while sharks amass amid pools of cursive scribble. This painterly urgency also evinces in sculpture compiled from the town dump. One trophy-like specimen is a torn and twisted truck front end, sun bleached and shaped like the jaws of a great-white shark (serrated metal teeth are welded on to complete the analogy). Over twelve sculptures were executed here and left among the refuse. We glimpse them through the documentary photos within the instillation and video.
Marking Saylors' first foray into video, we are entreated, through the use of a hand-held camcorder, to an artists eye view of the junkyard hunt and gather. With Saylor, we forage, select, consider and assemble resulting in a survey both simple and revelatory in itsí ability to strip the creative process of institutional sentiment. This honesty seems well suited to a desert environment that favors the unencumbered traveler. Yet unlike the parched wasteland, the longer you linger here, the more refreshed you are likely to become.