Like the Renaissance masters before him (see Jan Van Eyck, Giovanni Bellini, Bronzino, etc.), Taha Clayton enjoys the challenge of reproducing the undulations and folds of fabric in his paintings. soldier of love is a perfect example, the intricate folds of the white dress and fluttering sheets presenting distinct and infuriating representational issues. “I like to work on difficult things,” says Clayton. “But to be honest, the dress threw me off a bit.”
Clayton draws on the past for inspiration, focusing on certain specific periods or situations he wishes to draw attention to. soldier of love is set in the early 20th century, during the height of the Black Wall Street era in Tulsa, Oklahoma. What is Clayton trying to convey? “It’s part of a larger series, showing how women have been keeping it going since day one,” says Clayton. “Here is a woman on her land, on her farm, an image of grace, balance as well as strength and power. The women of this era don’t get a lot of light.
Clayton, who lives and works in Brooklyn, spent two months last summer in an artist residency at Wassaic Project with his family. soldier of love was painted during the residency, and the bucolic backdrop of the painting is based on motifs from the Wassaic project.
soldier of love is on view until March 19 at the Maxon Mills of the Wassaic Project, as part of the collective exhibition “What Comes After”. For the exhibit, Clayton draped the painting in fabric and installed fake grass around the bottom of the painting. “I want the piece to be an immersive experience, as if the viewer is standing in the room with her.”