“Outside of Time”: An Interview with Pace Taylor
By K. Iver
See more of Pace Taylor's artwork in Vol. 39.2 here.
My drawings are constructions of intimacy between people; specifically, all types. I build the images from found photographs of assumed queers from past decades, both alone and in the company of others. Through the translation from photograph to drawing, I invite a false memory to distort their bearings, bringing them into my world and covering them in planes of mutable soft pastel and the warmth and weight of lead. As memory and time distort appearance, the body becomes both a fixation and something inconsequential. Just an emotional shadow, vibrating color. In a rejection of the binary, the body acts as a hesitation for the viewer; an opportunity to project their own experience of being in the world; an offer to be held by another’s language.
K. Iver: Your work engages with a generous number of artistic traditions. How important is this arc, especially when the subjects are queer bodies?
Pace Taylor: Full transparency, I can’t say I was consciously aware that I was participating in all of these artistic traditions until recently when another artist asked a similar question. Since then I’ve been trying to more sincerely consider the implications of these comparisons and how that could come across to my audience. As I’ve started more actively engaging with art history in the past couple of years, I think I’ve been subconsciously drawn to artists actively participating in understanding their identities and how they function under larger power structures. R.B. Kitaj, Marisol Escobar, and Lubaina Himid are artists that come to mind if I’m thinking of this tradition of engaging critically with identity while working in the framing and visual language of the time. I also imagine that my use of vintage reference photos of assumed queer people, or often just people that look a bit out of place, implicates itself in the work. Perhaps I’m being passively influenced by the clothing, the staging, etc. but it seems it’s coming through. I will say I think there’s something special in working with these old images and bringing these assumed queers into a time and space outside of their original positioning.
KI: You’ve talked about being emotionally preoccupied with both tenderness and who has access to it. You named one of your pieces “The Privilege of Tenderness.” In it are three bodies of varied colors kneeling on the ground to look closely at a tuft of wildflowers. The upper-left-hand corner shows part of a swimming pool marked “6 ft.” In function, the viewer gazes at bodies that gaze at the flowers. What were your thoughts around tenderness and access when you were making this?
PT: It’s been a couple of years since I made that piece, so my relationship with tenderness has shifted a bit. At the time, I believe I was thinking about how certain narratives (read: white, cisgender, heternormative) are more readily accepted at a societal scale, and especially societal ideas around who is allowed to be soft, or to perform intimacy in public. I will say that I’m not so concerned with tenderness from that framing these days, and especially on such a large scale, but I’m a bit more preoccupied with how care plays out in intimate relationships on a platonic, romantic, or community scale. That’s more important to me at the moment.
KI: I’ve heard that safety is a prerequisite for